Category Archives: Water Supply

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending April 21, 2015

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 April 21, 2015.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images.  For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the News Grouper 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/.

Precipitation

The following maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation for the given location at this time of year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending April 21, 2015.  The maps were accessed on April 22, 2015, 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 Apr 21Precip perc Apr 21

For another precipitation-information source:
The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, http://water.weather.gov/precip/, provides maps showing precipitation nationwide or by state for specific days, months, or years.  The site also has the capability to show county boundaries.  Shown below is the map of seven-day precipitation ending at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on April 22, 2015.  (Please note that UTC, the time shown on the map below, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.)

Precip US Apr 22

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending April 21, 2015, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap, accessed 4/22/15).  The map compares the previous week’s average stream flows—at 137 stream-gaging stations in Virginia and just beyond the state border—to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compare flows to historical records are as shown in the following chart (the higher the percentile and the “bluer” the color, the higher the flow relative to normal for the site and time of year).

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graphStreams Apr 21

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending April 14, 2015, Plus a Mid-Month Drought Assessment

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 April 14, 2015. Also below is a map showing the status of several drought indicators in different Virginia regions, as of April 15. The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images. For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the News Grouper 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/.

Precipitation

The following maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation for the given location at this time of year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending April 14, 2015. The maps were accessed on April 15, 2015, 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 Apr 14Precip Perc Apr 14

For another precipitation-information source: The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, http://water.weather.gov/precip/, provides maps showing precipitation nationwide or by state for specific days, months, or years. The site also has the capability to show county boundaries. Shown below is the map of seven-day precipitation ending at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on April 15, 2015. (Please note that UTC, the time shown on the map below, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.)

Precip national

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending April 14, 2015, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap, accessed 4/15/15). The map compares the previous week’s average stream flows—at about 140 stream-gaging stations in Virginia and just beyond the state border—to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station. The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compare flows to historical records are as shown in the following chart (the higher the percentile and the “bluer” the color, the higher the flow relative to normal for the site and time of year).

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graphStreams Apr 14

Mid-month Drought Status Update

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators. Shown below is the April 15, 2015, 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, http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.

Drought Va Apr 15

$1 Million Abandoned Mine Land Grant for Water-system Expansion in Buchanan County, Va., Announced Mar. 25, 2015

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia governor’s office’s Mar. 25, 2015, news release on new funds for public-water expansion in Buchanan County.

Governor McAuliffe Announces $1 Million Funding For Water System Expansion in Buchanan County, 3/25/15.

Excerpt: “…Buchanan County is set to receive a federal grant totaling $1,000,000 to provide public water to 163 homes in the Hurley community that have been affected by past coal mining practices.  The water project has been selected for construction funding under Virginia’s Abandoned Mine Land (AML) FY15 Grant administered by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), that will be released in April 2015. … This grant will help fund the sixth phase of the Hurley Regional Water Project, which extends public water service into the Hurley area of Buchanan County.  The project consists of approximately 13.5 miles of water lines, two pump stations, and two tanks. … AML water grants in Buchanan County have totaled $26.8 million and helped provide clean water to 2,197 homes. … Funding for DMME’s water supply replacement projects is through reclamation fees paid by Virginia’s coal industry.  Since 1984, the agency has awarded over $47 million to water projects throughout Southwest Virginia.”

Other news releases from the governor’s office are available online at https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/news-releases/.

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending April 7, 2015

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 April 7, 2015.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images.  For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the News Grouper 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/.

Precipitation

The following maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation for the given location at this time of year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending April 7, 2015.  The maps were accessed on April 8, 2015, 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 Apr 7Precip perc Apr 7

For another precipitation-information source: The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, http://water.weather.gov/precip/, provides maps showing precipitation nationwide or by state for specific days, months, or years. The site also has the capability to show county boundaries. Shown below is the map of seven-day precipitation ending at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on April 8, 2015. (Please note that UTC, the time shown on the map below, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.)

Precip national Apr 8

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending April 7, 2015, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap, accessed 4/8/15).  The map compares the previous week’s average stream flows at 139 stream-gaging stations in Virginia and just beyond the state border to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compare flows to historical records are as shown in the following chart (the higher the percentile and the “bluer” the color, the higher the flow relative to normal for the site and time of year).
KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graphStreams Apr 7

Virginia State Water Resources Plan Released by Va. DEQ on Apr. 7, 2015, for Public Comment through May 8, 2015

On April 7, 2015, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) published the  draft “Virginia State Water Resources Plan” and opened up a public-comment period through May 8, 2015.  The plan is Virginia’s first effort to develop a statewide water-supply plan based on local and regional plans.  The plan is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/WaterSupplyPlanning/StateWaterPlan.aspx.  Written comments on the draft plan should be submitted by May 8 to the DEQ’s Tammy Stephenson, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218, or by e-mail at tammy.stephenson@deq.virginia.gov.

The statewide plan resulted from a process set in motion by SB 1221 in the 2003 Virginia General Assembly.  That bill–which is available at the Virginia Legislative Information System’s Web site, at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=031&typ=bil&val=sb1221)–required the following: “The [State Water Control] Board, with the advice and guidance from the Commissioner of Health, local governments, public service authorities, and other interested parties, shall establish a comprehensive water supply planning process for the development of local, regional, and state water supply plans consistent with the provisions of this chapter [Chapter 227 of the Virginia Code].  This process shall be designed to (i) ensure that adequate and safe drinking water is available to all citizens of the Commonwealth, (ii) encourage, promote, and protect all other beneficial uses of the Commonwealth’s water resources, and (iii) encourage, promote, and develop incentives for alternative water sources, including but not limited to desalinization.”  The plans were to include information on water sources, water use, natural resources, water-demand management or current conservation practices; drought response and contingency plans, projected water demand, and a statement of need based on the adequacy of existing water sources to meet current and projected water demand over the planning period (a minimum of 30 years to a maximum of 50 years).

According to the draft plan’s Executive Summary, the plan “is a compilation and synthesis of the 48 local and regional water supply plans developed by local governments to assess their water supply needs 2010 to 2040, as well as information from other sources.  ….  This information was entered into the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) content management system for use in the cumulative impact analysis.  The Commonwealth realized a more proactive approach to water resources planning was necessary following the 1999-2002 drought event.  Following the 2002 drought, the Local and Regional Water Supply Planning Regulation was established [as mandated by SB 1221 in the 2003 General Assembly], which required each locality to develop and submit a plan, either alone or in collaboration with other localities, by 2011.  These plans have been collected and analyzed, and the results and recommendations are included in this report.”

Following is an excerpt from the DEQ’s news release on the plan (State Water Resources Plan open for public comment, 4/7/15):
“Among the main components of the plan are an extensive look at surface water and groundwater sources, and an assessment of the capacity of these sources to meet the projected water demand to 2040.  The plan outlines water supply challenges in Virginia and identifies recommendations to address these challenges.  [Some of the draft plan’s 12 recommendations include the following]:
*Development of rules for surface water withdrawals and impoundment releases that are currently excluded from Virginia Water Protection permitting requirements.
*Expansion of groundwater monitoring wells in localities outside the eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area to improve understanding of the groundwater resource and how pumping affects the aquifer.
*Increased emphasis on conservation efforts by localities to reduce demand.”

Following are some of the assessments of Virginia’s water supplies in the draft plan, according to the plan’s Executive Summary and to the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s 4/7/15 article, Virginia water demand to jump 32 percent by 2040, report says:
*By 2040, Virginia is expected to see about a 32-percent increase—about 450 million gallons—in mean daily water demand from 2010 levels.
*Water-supply systems around the state need about $6.1 billion in improvements during the next 20 years.
*Water losses from water-supply systems due to leaks, evaporation, and other causes range from 4 percent to 50 percent; the extent of such losses is substantially related to the age of the infrastructure.
*Virginia is using groundwater faster than it is being replaced, both in the Tidewater area east of Interstate 95 but also in several localities west of I-95.

Appendix D of the draft plan provides 133 one-page “snapshots” of water sources, demand, and other information for various localities or groups or localities.

For a previous Virginia Water Resources Research Center summary of Virginia’s water-supply planning process since 2002, please see “Water Supply Planning on the Agenda in Virginia and Several Other States,” Virginia Water Central, November 2009, p.7, online at http://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49360.

For a Virginia Water Radio podcast (3 min./44 sec.) on the statewide planning process, please see “Virginia’s State Water Resources Plan,” Virginia Water Radio Episode 261, April 13, 2015, online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2015/04/episode-261-4-13-15-virginias-state.html.

USED Nov13 Sandy River Reservoir near Rice Prince Edward County Nov21 2013

Surface-water reservoirs, such as the Sandy River Reservoir in Prince Edward County (shown here in November 2013), are one aspect of local and regional plans that have been incorporated into the Virginia Water Resources Plan.

USED Dec07 Dry River at Lilly in Rockingham Co Nov25 07

Drought-declaration protocols were established in local and regional plans that were incorporated into the 2015 Virginia Water Resources Plan. Shown above is a literally dry Dry River at Lilly in Rockingham County, Va., on November 25, 2007.  At the time, over 96 percent of Virginia was categorized as “abnormally dry” or worse by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Virginia Water Status Report as of the End of March 2015, Plus a Look at Drought Nationally

Here is the Virginia Water Central News Grouper’s monthly water-status report, as of the end of March 2015. The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing the data and maps used in this post.

PRECIPITATION

Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary precipitation totals for March 2015 at 11 Virginia or near-Virginia locations, along with the normal for this month of the year.  All values are in inches, rounded to the nearest 0.1 inch from NWS values:

Location March 2015

Precipitation

(inches)

(preliminary)

Normal for Month (inches)
Blacksburg 4.6 3.6
Bluefield (Merc. Co. airport, near Va.-W.Va. state line) 5.1 3.5
Bristol (Tri-Cities Airport in Tenn., about 20 miles from Bristol, Va.-Tenn.) 3.9 3.4
Charlottesville (Char.-Albemarle Airport) 3.5 3.7
Danville 2.1 4.1
Lynchburg 3.3 3.6
Norfolk 2.7 3.7
Richmond 3.8 4.0
Roanoke 4.3 3.5
Wallops Island (Accomack County) 3.4 4.0
Washington-Dulles Airport (Loudoun County) 3.9 3.4

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 provisional (still needing verification) maps of the percent-of-normal precipitation for the previous 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days, through February 28, 2015. Please note that the scale is different for the 90-day map.

Precip Perc 30 daysPrecip Perc 60 daysPrecip perc 90 days


STREAM FLOW

According to the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, average stream flow values for March 2015 at 150 stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border were in the normal range at about 61 percent of gages, below normal at about 9 percent, and above normal at about 30 percent (with much-above-normal readings for the month at several gages, particularly in far southwestern Virginia). 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 as follows:

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graphStreams March

DROUGHT IN VIRGINIA
The weekly National Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) for March 31, 2015, categorized about 14 percent of Virginia as being abnormally dry. That area included a small part of upper James River basin, most of Roanoke River basin, and some of the upper New River basin.

The Drought Monitor notes that it “focuses on broad-scale conditions [and] local conditions may vary.” The Drought Monitor categories are as follows:
D0 = abnormally dry;
D1 = moderate drought;
D2 = severe drought;
D3 = extreme drought;
D4 = exceptional drought.

For comparison, here are Virginia ratings from previous Drought Monitors from about one month, two months, three months, and one year ago:
3/3/15 – 31 percent abnormally dry;
1/27/15 – 10 percent abnormally dry;
12/30/14 – 16 percent abnormally dry;
4/1/15 – drought-free.

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent Drought Status Report on March 17, 2015. 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 Drought Monitoring Task Force also produces a daily map rating groundwater levels (GW), precipitation deficits (Prcp), reservoir storage (Res), and stream flow (Flow) conditions across the Commonwealth. In each area, a color code indicates “normal,” “watch,” “warning,” or “emergency conditions.” The April 1, 2015, map is shown below. The current map and more information on the ratings are available at the Task Force Web site listed above.
Drought VA Apr 1

DROUGHT ELSEWHERE

The March 31, 2015, U.S. Drought Monitor rated 54.0 percent of the United States (including all or parts of 41 states) as being abnormally dry or worse, and it rated 13.1 percent of the country (including all or parts of 12 states), as being in severe drought or worse (categories D2, D3, and D4). (On August 7, 2012, 38.5 percent of the country was in the three worst categories; that was the highest percentage in these categories reported by the Drought Monitor since it began in 2000.)

The nationwide percentages for abnormally dry or worse (D0-D4) and severe or worse (D2-D4) in the previous three months and one year ago were as follows:
3/3/15 – 49.4 percent abnormally dry or worse; 13.1 percent severe drought or worse;
1/27/15 – 43.4 percent abnormally dry or worse; 14.1 percent severe drought or worse;
12/30/14 – 39.2 percent abnormally dry or worse; 14.1 percent severe drought or worse;
4/1/14 – 44.7 percent abnormally dry or worse; 20.2 percent severe drought or worse;

In the following states, over 50 percent of the state was categorized by the March 31 report as being in severe-or-worse drought:

California – 93% (with 67% in extreme or exceptional drought; California has had over 90 percent of its area categorized in severe-or-worse drought every week since February 11, 2014, and the Golden State had 100 percent in those categories from May 13—July 29, 2014);

Nevada – 80% (with 48% in extreme or exceptional drought);

Oklahoma – 51% (with 8% in extreme drought);

Utah – 52% (with 9 % in extreme drought).

Here are a few comments from the March 31 Drought Monitor on conditions in some parts of the country:

Midwest: “…Widespread pronounced precipitation deficits (15-50 percent of normal) are noted over most of the Midwest during the past 90 days, while 6-month precipitation stood at a meager 35 to 70 percent of normal from the Dakotas and parts of Nebraska into the central Great Lakes region….”

Southern Plains and Texas: “Soil moisture and streamflow rankings remained at or below the 5th percentile in the southern Plain’s core drought areas, while the satellite-derived Vegetation Health Index indicated rapidly declining conditions from the Texas Panhandle into northern Oklahoma….”

West: “The overall trend toward drought persistence continued, with drought intensification noted over the eastern Great Basin and central Rockies. The west continued to cope with much-above-normal temperatures, further depleting already-dire snowpacks and reducing spring runoff prospects over much of the region. …Plentiful water-year precipitation (since October 1) in the Northwest remained in sharp contrast to virtually non-existent snowpacks, with the snow-water equivalents less than 25 percent of normal (locally less than 10 percent) across Oregon as well as southern and northwestern Washington. The lack of snow maintained concerns for spring and summer water supplies despite the generally favorable 2014-15 water year. … In California, there were no changes to this week’s depiction as the state entered a fourth consecutive year of drought. … [A]s of April 1, the state’s total snowpack stood at a meager 5 percent of average. Indicative of the virtually non-existent snowpack, streamflows have dropped into the 5th percentile or lower over much of California. … Even with some precipitation in the forecast across central and northern California, any rain and mountain snow—while welcomed—would likely do little to improve the state’s dire drought prospects.”

And one more note on California: On April 1, 2015, California announced its first-ever mandatory water-use restrictions. Executive Order B-29-15 by Gov. Jerry Brown calls for the State Water Resources Control Board to implement water-use restrictions that will achieve a 25-percent reduction statewide in potable water use by February 28, 2016. The order does not impose restrictions on agricultural water use but requires irrigators or 10,000 acres or more to include details on supplies, demand, and drought-management actions in annual water-management plans. Here are three sources of information about the California action: California Imposes First Mandatory Water Restrictions to Deal With Drought, New York Times, 4/1/15; Gov. Jerry Brown: California has to change what’s comfortable to address drought, PBS NewsHour, 4/1/15; California State Water Resources Control Board Web site, http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/.

For a look ahead, the National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center’s “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook” for the next 90 days is available at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/sdo_summary.html. Shown below is the outlook map available on April 1, 2015.

Drought outlook

PREVIOUS MONTHLY WATER-STATUS REPORTS
Please see this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Water+Status.

Southeastern U.S. Precipitation and Virginia Stream Flow Look-back at Winter 2014-15

On March 26, 2015, with Virginia’s and the Northern Hemisphere’s spring equinox just a few days gone by, here’s a look back at what happened with rainfall in the southeastern United States and stream flow in Virginia in winter 2014-25.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned above for their work to providing these valuable assessment products.

Precipitation

The following maps, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center (SRCC), located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps, accessed 3/26/15), show southeastern U.S. precipitation between December 26, 2014, and March 25, 2015 (first map), and how this rainfall compared to historical normal values for that period (second map). These data are provisional. (For perspective, Virginia’s statewide average annual rainfall since 1895 has been about 43 inches, according to the SRCC’s “Monthly and Seasonal Climate Information” Web page at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/monthly_seasonal.)

precip 90 dayprecip perc 90 day

In the second map, note the brown and red areas—indicating precipitation at least 10 percent below normal for the period—in a swath of Virginia from the southwest to the center of the state. These levels have helped cause the occurrence of “abnormally dry” conditions in about 20 percent of Virginia as of March 24, 2015, according to the report of the U.S. Drought Monitor for that date. (The Drought Monitor is produced by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is available online at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/.) Virginia has had some areas rated as abnormally dry since the April 22, 2014, Drought Monitor report.

Outside of Virginia, note the large swath of below-normal precipitation from Virginia south to the Gulf Coast. The March 24, 2015, Drought Monitor rated about 25 percent of the southeastern United States as abnormally dry.

For another color-coded map of precipitation in Virginia or any other state of your choosing, see the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service’s nationwide map of precipitation, with daily, monthly, and yearly archives; online at http://water.weather.gov/precip/.

Stream Flow

The first graph below, from the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) “WaterWatch—Current Water Resources Conditions” Web site (http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/new/index.php?id=pa01d&sid=w__plot&r=va), accessed 3/26/15), compares average daily stream flow to historical records for the 45-day period of Feb.7—Mar. 25, 2014. The second graph covers the period since January 2001. The data in the graphs come from 88 sites that have at least 30 years of records. Each graph uses a “stream flow index,” which measures how a site’s average stream flow over 24 hours compares to the historical average stream flow for that same site and date. The graphs shows a further average: the stream flow index averaged statewide over the 88 sites.

Streams 45 daysStreams 10 years

 

Other Water Status Posts on the Water Central News Grouper

Previous seasonal look-backs are at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Seasonal+Look-back.

Monthly water-status updates are at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Virginia+Water+Status.