Category Archives: Water Supply

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending January 16, 2017

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending January 16, 2017 (information available as of January 17).  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: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Virginia+Precipitation.

For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the posts available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Monthly+Water+Status.

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, http://va.water.usgs.gov/.

gage-smth-river-below-philpott-dam-jan16-2017-closeJanuary 2017 Gaging Station of the Month:  Smith River just below Philpott Reservoir dam on the Franklin County/Henry County line, January 16, 2017.

Precipitation

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 January 16, 2017.  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 http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

precip-jan16precip-perc-jan16

Another source of precipitation data is the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, online at http://water.weather.gov/precip/.  The site 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.  Shown below is the map of the continental U.S., 7-day observed precipitation (in inches) as of 7 a.m. EST on 1/17/17.  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.

precip-us-jan17

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of December 19 are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=map.  The map’s color-coded dots compare the previous week’s average stream flows to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.

streams-jan16

stream codes

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending January 9, 2017

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending January 9, 2017 (information available as of January 10).  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: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Virginia+Precipitation.

For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the posts available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Monthly+Water+Status.

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, http://va.water.usgs.gov/.

gage-jan2017-middle-river-at-mt-meridian-near-grottoes-dec16-09

January 2017 Gaging Station of the Month:  Middle River (tributary of South Fork Shenandoah River) at Mt. Meridian (Augusta County), Dec. 16, 2009.

Precipitation

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 January 9, 2017.  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 http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

precip-jan10precip-perc-jan-10

Another source of precipitation data is the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, online at http://water.weather.gov/precip/.  The site 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.  Shown below is the continental U.S. map of 7-day observed precipitation (in inches) as of 7 a.m. EST on 1/10/17.  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.

precip-us-jan-10

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of December 19 are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=map.  The map’s color-coded dots compare the previous week’s average stream flows to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.

streams-jan9stream codes

Virginia Water Status Report as of the Beginning of January 2017, Plus a Look at Drought Nationally

Here is the Virginia Water Central News Grouper’s monthly water-status report on precipitation, stream flow, and drought, as of the beginning of January 2017.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing the data and maps used in this post.  Icons for precipitation, stream flow, and drought are by George Wills of Blacksburg, Va. (https://www.etsy.com/people/BlacksburgArt).  For previous monthly water status reports, please see this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Water+Status.

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Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary (still needing verification) precipitation totals for December 2016 at 11 Virginia or near-Virginia locations, along with the “normal” (three-decade average) for this month of the year at each location.  Also shown are the precipitation totals at each location for the previous 12 months and the annual precipitation normals for each location.  All values are in inches.

Location December 2016 Observed

 

Monthly Normal January 2016-

December 2016 Observed

Annual Normal
Blacksburg 3.09 2.95 42.04 40.89

 

Bluefield1

 

3.20 2.91 34.83 39.63
Bristol2

 

5.36 3.37 35.67 41.01
Charlottesville3

 

1.72 3.15 33.58 42.71
Danville

 

1.62 3.27 46.83 44.41
Lynchburg

 

3.10 3.24 42.50 41.57
Norfolk

 

2.54 3.26 68.86 46.53
Richmond

 

2.80 3.26 52.75 43.60
Roanoke

 

2.79 2.94 46.81 41.25
Wallops Island4

 

3.97 3.43 56.42 40.84
Washington-Dulles Airport5 2.36 2.96 35.33 41.54

Location notes
1 – The Bluefield location is the Mercer County, W. Va., airport, near the Va.-W.Va. state line.
2- The Bristol location Tri-Cities Airport in Tenn., about 20 miles from Bristol, Va./Tenn.
3 – The Charlottesville location is the (Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.
4 – Wallops Island is in Accomack County.
5 – Washington-Dulles Airport is in Loudoun County.

Precipitation sources:  Climate pages of the following National Weather Service Forecast Offices:
Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=rnk);
Morristown, Tenn. (http://www.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=mrx;
Baltimore-Washington (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=lwx); and
Wakefield, Va. (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=akq).

The normal values used by the National Weather Service (NWS) in these provisional reports are based on the period from 1981 to 2010.  The National Climatic Data Center released these normal values in July 2011.  For information on the normal values, see the National Climatic Data Center Web page at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/land-based-station-data/land-based-datasets/climate-normals.

For graphs of precipitation, visit the Southeast Regional Climate Center (Chapel Hill, N.C) at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps, where you can find maps of total precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the past 7, 30, 60, or 90 days; or the NWS’ Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at http://water.weather.gov/precip/ for a map of precipitation nationwide or by state, with capability to show county boundaries, and archives available for specific days, months, or years.  Shown below are the Southeast Regional Climate Center’s preliminary maps of the percent-of-normal precipitation for the previous 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days, through January 2, 2017.

precip-30-jan2precip-60-jan2precip-90-jan2

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According to the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=mv01d&r=va&w=map), monthly average stream flow values for December 2016 at about 156 stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border were in the normal range at about 56% of gages, below normal at about 37%, and much below normal at about 7%.  The color-coded, flow-percentile map for this period is shown below.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compared flows to historical records for the month are shown in the chart below the map.

streams-dec-2016

stream codes

An overall look at Virginia streamflow conditions is provided in the USGS WaterWatch summary plot of average streamflow conditions.  Below is the summary plot for 88 Virginia sites during the 45-day period ending January 1, 2017, accessed at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?id=pa07d&sid=w__plot&r=va on January 3, 2017.

streams-plot-jan2

03-icon-groundwater

Information on current groundwater levels in Virginia monitoring wells is available from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Information System, online at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/current/?type=gw; and from the USGS Climate Response Network, online at http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/net/ogwnetwork.asp?ncd=crn (at that page, you can find a national map showing the status of groundwater monitoring wells compared to historical values).

 04-icon-drought

DROUGHT IN VIRGINIA

The weekly National Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) for January 3, 2017, showed about 70.9% of Virginia as “abnormally dry,” covering the western and central regions of the state, except for parts of several counties on the western and southwestern borders.  The January 3 report also showed about 15.4% of Virginia in “moderate drought” or worse, covering most of the New River basin, parts of the western Roanoke River basin and eastern Holston basin, and parts of several counties in the northern Piedmont.

Drought Monitor categories are as follows:
D0 = abnormally dry;
D1 = moderate drought;
D2 = severe drought;
D3 = extreme drought;
D4 = exceptional drought.

The Drought Monitor notes that it “focuses on broad-scale conditions [and] local conditions may vary.”

For comparison, here are Virginia ratings from previous Drought Monitors from about one month, two months, three months, and one year ago:
12/6/16 – 68.7% abnormally dry or worse, 27.7% moderate drought or worse, 0.8% severe drought;
11/1/16 – 28.9% abnormally dry or worse, 3.4% moderate drought;
10/4/16 – 13.5% abnormally dry or worse, 0.2% moderate drought;
1/5/16 – 0.01% abnormally dry.

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent (as of 12/1/16) Drought Status Report on December 2, 2016.  A link to the report, along with other current drought-status information, is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.  The Task Force’s reports typically include information from some or all of the following agencies: University of Virginia Climatology Office, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Virginia departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Health, and Environmental Quality.  The Task Force is next scheduled to meet on January 12, 2017.

The Drought Monitoring Task Force also produces a map rating drought-status indicators.  Shown below is the map for December 12, 2016, the most recent available as of January 4, 2017.  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 listed above.
drought-va-dec12-2016
DROUGHT ELSEWHERE

The January 3, 2017, U.S. Drought Monitor rated 40.3% of the United States (including all or parts of 46 states) as being abnormally dry or worse.  The Drought Monitor rated about 7.2% of the country (including parts of 27 states), as being in severe drought or worse (categories D2, D3, and D4).  The highest percentage in the severe-or-worse categories reported by the Drought Monitor since it began in 2000 was 38.5% of the country for the week of August 7, 2012.

The nationwide percentages for abnormally dry or worse (categories D0-D4) and severe or worse (categories D2-D4) in the previous three months and one year ago were as follows:
12/6/16 – 47.3% abnormally dry or worse, 11.7% severe drought or worse;
11/1/16 – 41.6% abnormally dry or worse, 9.2% severe drought or worse;
10/4/16 – 36.6% abnormally dry or worse, 7.0% severe drought or worse;
1/5/16 – 28.1% abnormally dry or worse, 8.4% severe drought or worse.

In the following states, 50 percent or more of the state was rated by the January 3 Drought Monitor as in severe-or-worse drought:

California, 54%.  This severe-or-worse rating is the lowest for the Golden State since the week of June 11, 2013.  California’s current drought began in late 2011 to early 2012.
Connecticut, 83%.
Massachusetts, 69%.
Oklahoma, 56%.

90-DAY DROUGHT OUTLOOK

For a look ahead, the National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center’s “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook” is available at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/sdo_summary.php.  Shown below is the outlook map available on January 3, 2017.

drought-outlook-us

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending December 26, 2016

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending December 26, 2016 (information available as of December 27).   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: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Virginia+Precipitation.  For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the posts available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Monthly+Water+Status.  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, http://va.water.usgs.gov/.

used-grdec2016-newsfeb11-rappahannock-river-at-remington-dec27-09-used-grouper-1-26-16 December Gaging Station of the Month: Rappahannock River near Remington (Culpeper/Fauquier county line), Dec. 29, 2009.

Precipitation

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 December 26, 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 http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

precip-dec26precipperc-dec26

Another source of precipitation data is the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, online at http://water.weather.gov/precip/.  The site 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.  Shown below is the continental U.S. 7-day precipitation map as of 7 a.m. EST on 12/27/16.  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.

precip-us

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of December 19 are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=map.  The map’s color-coded dots compare the previous week’s average stream flows to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.

streams-dec26KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

Virginia State Water Commission Meeting on November 30, 2016, in Richmond; Focus on JLARC’s October 2016 Report, “Effectiveness of Virginia’s Water Resource Planning and Management”; Virginia Water Radio Episode and Full-meeting Audio Available

The Virginia State Water Commission met November 30, 2016, at 10 a.m., in House Room C of the General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.  More information on the meeting is available online at http://studies.virginiageneralassembly.gov/meetings/409, or from the Virginia House of Delegates’ Clerk’s Office/Committee Operations, phone (804) 698-1540.

A Virginia Water Radio episode about the State Water Commission based on audio from the Nov. 30 meeting is available at this link (4 min./34 sec.).  An audio recording of the full Nov. 30 Commission meeting is available at this link (1 hr./47 min./15 sec.).

The focus of the Nov. 30 meeting was a discussion of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s (JLARC) October 2016 report, “Effectiveness of Virginia’s Water Resource Planning and Management,” October 2016 (114 pages), available online at http://jlarc.virginia.gov/landing-water.asp.  Slides from the presentation given at the Nov. 30 meeting by Jamie Bitz, chief legislative analyst at JLARC, are available at this PDF link.

According to the Division of Legislative Service’s Web page on the Commission, at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/swc.htm, the Virginia General Assembly created the Commission to “study all aspects of water supply and allocation problems in the Commonwealth, whether these problems are of a quantitative or qualitative nature; and coordinate the legislative recommendations of all other state entities having responsibilities with respect to water supply and allocation issues.”  The Commission includes mostly members of the General Assembly plus two citizens.

The current members of the Commission are as follows:
Del. Thomas C. Wright, Jr., Chair
Del. David L. Bulova
Del. T. Scott Garrett
Del. Barry D. Knight
Del. Daniel W. Marshall, III
Del. John M. O’Bannon, III
Del. Luke E. Torian
Del. R. Lee Ware, Jr.
Sen. Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr.
Sen. Frank M. Ruff, Jr.
Sen. William M. Stanley, Jr.
Sen. Richard H. Stuart
Sen. Frank W. Wagner
Mr. Lamont W. Curtis
Mr. Richard A. Street

USGS 104G Water Resources Research National Competitive Grants Program Request for Proposals (RFP), FY 2017; Pre-proposals Due to Respective State Water Center or Institute by Feb. 15, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR), requests proposals for matching grants from the National Competitive Grants Program, under section 104-G of the federal Water Resources Research Act of 1984.  The grants are intended to support research on the topic of improving and enhancing the nation’s water supply, including the following specific areas of inquiry (levels of priority are not assigned, and the order of listing does not indicate the level of priority):
–Evaluation of innovative approaches to water treatment, infrastructure design, retrofitting, maintenance, management, and replacement;
–Exploration and advancement of our understanding of changes in the quantity and quality of water resources in response to a changing climate, population shifts, and land use changes;
–Development of methods for better estimation of water supply, both surface and groundwater, including estimation of the physical supply and of the economic supply of water;
–Development and evaluation of processes and governance mechanisms for integrated surface/ground water management; and
–Evaluation and assessment of conservation practices.

This program provides university researchers with up to $250,000 for projects of 1 to 3 years in duration.  Any investigator at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States is eligible to apply for a grant through a Water Research Institute or Center established under the provisions of the Water Resources Research Act of 1984, as amended (http://water.usgs.gov/wrri/institutes.html).  Grants require a 1:1 non-federal match.  The intent of the program is to encourage projects with collaboration between universities and the USGS.  As of December 2016, funds had not yet been appropriated for this program for Fiscal Year 2017.

The Request for Proposals (RFP), online at https://niwr.net/public/get_RFP/?type=104G, gives information on the electronic application-filing process and on previous funding, including award amounts and funding success rates.  The 104G application process requires a pre-proposal to the principal investigator(s)’ respective water center or institute by February 15, 2017, 5:00 PM.  Please see http://water.usgs.gov/wrri/index.php to find your respective state water center or institute.  After the pre-proposals are evaluated, a certain number of investigators will be invited to submit full proposals, which are due by June 1, 2017.

If you are a water-resources researcher at an accredited institution of higher education in Virginia and you are interested in submitting a proposal, please contact the Virginia Water Resources Research Center Associate Director Kevin McGuire (540-231-6017; kevin.mcguire@vt.edu).  Pre-proposal and budget must be submitted by 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, February 15, 2017, via e-mail to water@vt.edu.

Global Surface Water Explorer Shows Changes to Water Bodies over 30 Years; Summary Article in New York Times on 12/9/16

Scientists at the European Commission’s Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy, and engineers at Google have developed the Global Surface Water Explorer, an online tool that uses satellite images to show changes in water bodies from 1986 to 2015.  The project Web site is https://global-surface-water.appspot.com/.  A short description of the project, with several examples (including Lake Mead in Arizona), is available in a New York Times article, Mapping Three Decades of Global Water Change, 12/9/16.