Virginia Precipitation for the 7-day Period Ending September 14, 2016, Plus a Mid-Month Drought Assessment

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States over the seven-day period ending September 14, 2016 (information available as of September 15).  (Please note: This weekly Water Center News Grouper post normally includes a map of stream flow over the previous seven days, but that map was not available from the U.S. Geological Survey on September 15.)  Also below is the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force’s daily map showing the status of several drought indicators in different Virginia regions, as of September 15.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images.

For the current month’s other weekly reports on stream flow and precipitation, please see the News Grouper posts available at this link:

For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the posts available at this link:

For more information on current and historical surface-water and groundwater conditions in Virginia, please see the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Virginia Science Center’s Web site,


September 2016 Gaging Station of the Month: James River at Buchanan (Botetourt County), September 19, 2010.


The following two color-coded maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation compared to normal for this period of the year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending September 14, 2016.  The maps were accessed from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).


Another source of precipitation data is the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service,, provides maps showing precipitation nationwide or by state for specific days, months, or years.  The site also has the capability to show county boundaries, and other map layers available include river flood forecasts and current flood/severe weather warnings.  Please note that UTC, the time shown on the maps at the site, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

Mid-month Drought Status Update

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF), a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its latest Virginia drought-status report on September 12, 2016.  The report is available at the DMTF Web site,  The Task Force was scheduled to meet and report again on October 13, 2016.  Here’s an excerpt from the September 12 report:

“Rainfall amounts during August 2016 were well below normal across most of Virginia, causing the past month to rank as one of the driest on record at many observing stations.  Fortunately, relatively wet conditions and above-normal groundwater levels early in the summer mitigated the effect of low August rainfall in many areas.  Temperatures have recently been above normal across Virginia, with most locations reporting summer average temperatures among the highest recorded.  High August temperatures were a big contributor to these averages. This has led to higher than normal summer evapotranspiration rates, further increasing the drying conditions.  For the current water year (October 1, 2015–September 8, 2016), precipitation totals have been greater than normal for 11 of [Virginia’s] 13 drought-evaluation regions, with the remaining two regions (Northern Virginia and Northern Piedmont) nearly normal.”

The Task Force also produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators.  Shown below is the September 15, 2016, map.  The status-indicator abbreviations on that map are as follows: GW = groundwater levels, Prcp = precipitation deficits, Res = reservoir storage, and Flow = stream flow conditions.  For each region of Virginia, the indicators are color coded for “normal,” “watch,” “warning,” or “emergency conditions.”  Any given day’s current map and more information on drought status in Virginia are available the Task Force Web site,



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