Category Archives: Water Supply

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending May 17, 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 May 17, 2015.  Also below is a map showing the status of several drought indicators in different Virginia regions, as of May 18.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images.a

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 May 17, 2015.  The maps were accessed 5/18/15 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 May 17Precip Perc May 17

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 are maps of precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the seven-day precipitation ending at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 18, 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 May 18Precip perc US May 18

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending May 17, 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 5/18/15).  The map compares the previous week’s average stream flows—at 136 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 chart following the map; the “bluer” the color, the higher the percentile and flow relative to normal for the site and time of year.

Streams

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

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 May 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.

Virginia Drought May 15

Forests on Private Land, Housing, and Water Supply are Focus of U.S. Forest Service Report Published in 2014

In 2014, the U.S. Forest Service published Private Forests, Housing Growth, and America’s Water SupplyThe 29-page reports provides rankings of watersheds across the conterminous United States according to the contributions of private forest land to surface drinking water, and according to threats to surface water from increased housing density.

The key overall findings of the report, according to the report abstract, are the following:
1) “Private forest land contributions to drinking water are greatest in the East but are also important in Western watersheds.”
2) “Development pressures on these contributions are concentrated in the Eastern United States but are also found in the North-Central region, parts of the West and Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest.”
3) “Nationwide, more than 55 million acres of rural private forest land are projected to experience a substantial increase in housing density from 2000 to 2030.”
4) “Planners, communities, and private landowners can use a range of strategies to maintain freshwater ecosystems, including designing housing and roads to minimize impacts on water quality, managing home sites to protect water resources, and using payment schemes and management partnerships to invest in forest stewardship on public and private lands.”

More information on the publication and access to the full document are available online at http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/47201; on contact the Forest Service at P.O. Box 96090, Washington, D.C. 20090-6090; phone (202) 205-8333. Specify Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-327, from the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending May 12, 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 May 12, 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 May 12, 2015.  The maps were accessed on May 13 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 May 12 Precip perc May 12

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 are maps of precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the seven-day precipitation ending at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 13, 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 May 12Precip Perc US May 12

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending May 12, 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 5/13/15).  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 chart following the map; the “bluer” the color, the higher the percentile and flow relative to normal for the site and time of year.

Streams May 12KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

California’s Long-term Drought – A Quick Summary and Sources of Information, as of May 7, 2015

[This post revises previous posts of 2-28-14 and 7-17-14.]

It’s an event of national significance when persistent and severe drought afflicts California, the nation’s third largest state in land area and largest in population (with over 37 million people as of the 2010 Census), and the source of over $44 billion worth of agricultural products in 2012, about 11 percent of total U.S. cash farm receipts that year (according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, at, 2/28/14).

As of the May 5, 2015, edition of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (online at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/), almost 94 percent of California was categorized as being in “severe,” “extreme,” or “exceptional” drought (the Drought Monitor’s three driest categories, out of five). Over 90 percent of the state has been in these categories since February 2014, with 100 percent of the state so rated during much of summer 2014. And as far back as June 2013, over 50 percent of the state was in the severe-or-worse categories.

The following comments in the July 15, 2014, edition of the Drought Monitor add some more perspective on the current California drought:

“…With June [2014] in the books, NCDC [National Climatic Data Center; online at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/] rankings for California for the July 2013-June 2014 period were the warmest and 3rd driest since 1895.  The only drier July-June periods were in 1923-24 and 1976-77.  This is the first time California experienced 3 consecutive years in the top 20 for dryness: 2011-12 ranked 20th, 2012-13 ranked 18th, and statewide precipitation has averaged 67% of normal during this 3-year period, and was just 56% of normal in 2013-14.  Fortunately California’s reservoirs hold more water than they did in 1977 when the state experienced its 4th and 2nd driest years on record from July 1975-June 1977.  However, a recent study estimated that this drought will cost California $2.2 billion in 2014, with a loss of over 17,000 agricultural jobs.”

On July 16, 2014, the California Water Quality Control Board announced that mandatory restrictions on residential water use would begin August 1, with violators subject to fines of $500 per day. Then, on May 5, 2015, the Board adopted emergency regulations requiring an immediate 25-percent reduction in overall water use across the state. An Executive Order by Gov. Jerry Brown on April 1, 2015, had ordered the Board to adopt such regulations. For more information on the state’s water-conservation regulations, please see this link: Emergency Regulations Development to Achieve 25% Conservation.

Below are links to other information sources (besides the U.S. Drought Monitor) to help you learn about and follow this significant event in the Golden State.

California Department of Food and Agriculture, online at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/, phone: (916) 654-0466.  (For agricultural statistics, see http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/statistics/.)

California Department of Water Resources, online at http://www.water.ca.gov/; phone: (916) 653-5791.

California Institute for Water Resources/University of California-Davis, online at http://ciwr.ucanr.edu/, phone: (510) 987-9124.  (For drought-information resources, see http://ciwr.ucanr.edu/California_Drought_Expertise/.)

California State Water Control Board, online at http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/; (916) 341-5254.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) California Water Science Center, Sacramento, online at http://ca.water.usgs.gov/; phone: (916) 278-3000.

PBS “NewsHour” reports:
*February 14, 2014, “California’s historic drought strains towns and farms in Sonoma County,” online at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/california-historic-drought-strains-towns-farms-sonoma-county/ (8 min./4 sec.).

*July 16, 2014, “California’s ‘water cop’ urges residents to take drought seriously with mandatory restrictions,” online at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/californias-water-cop-urges-residents-take-drought-seriously-mandatory-restrictions/ (9 min./38 sec.).

*May 6, 2015, “Will water-wasting penalties help California conserve?”; online at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/will-water-wasting-penalties-help-california-conserve/ (5 min./36 sec.).

Virginia Water Status Report as of the End of April 2015, 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 end of April 2015. 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).

Precipitation Icon by George Wills

Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary (still needing verification) precipitation totals for April 2015 at 11 Virginia or near-Virginia locations, along with the normal for this month of the year. Also shown are the precipitation for the previous 12 months and the normal annual precipitation for each location. All values are in inches, rounded to the nearest 0.1 inch from NWS values.

Location
April 2015
Precipitation

 

Normal
for April
May 2014- April 2015 Precipitation

 

Normal Annual Precipitation
Blacksburg 5.3 3.5 40.4 40.9
Bluefield (Merc. Co. airport, near Va.-W.Va. state line) 5.3 3.3 42.4 39.6
Bristol (Tri-Cities Airport in Tenn., about 20 miles from Bristol, Va.-Tenn.) 5.0 3.3 42.5 41.0
Charlottesville (Char.-Albemarle Airport) 4.7 3.4 36.1 42.7
Danville 2.9 3.5 37.8 44.4
Lynchburg 4.1 3.3 40.8 41.6
Norfolk 4.6 3.4 48.8 46.5
Richmond 5.3 3.3 38.5 43.6
Roanoke 5.0 3.4 39.4 41.3
Wallops Island (Accomack County) 3.8 3.1 40.3 40.8
Washington-Dulles Airport (Loudoun County) 2.5 3.5 39.5 41.5

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 April 30, 2015. Please note that the scale is different for the 30-day map.

Precip 30 day Apr 30 Precip 60 day Apr 30 Precip 90 day Apr 30

 

Stream flow icon by George Wills
According to the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, average stream flow values for April 2015 at 152 stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border were in the normal range at about 52 percent of gages, below normal at about 3 percent, above normal at about 45 percent (with much-above-normal readings for the month a few gages in western 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 shown in the chart below the map.

Streams VA AprilKEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph 

 Drought Watch icon by George WillsDROUGHT IN VIRGINIA

The weekly National Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) for April 28, 2015, showed Virginia as drought-free, which has been the since the Drought Monitor report for April 21, 2015. Before that, some area of Virginia had been categorized as at least “abnormally dry” since the Drought Monitor report for April 22, 2014.

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:
3/31/15 – 14 percent abnormally dry;
3/3/15 – 31 percent abnormally dry;
1/27/15 – 10 percent abnormally dry;
4/29/14 – 0.1 percent abnormally dry.

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 next report is scheduled for May 2015. 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 drought-status indicators. Shown below is the May 1, 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 listed above.

Va Drought Map May 1

DROUGHT ELSEWHERE

The April 28, 2015, U.S. Drought Monitor rated 48.5 percent of the United States (including all or parts of 39 states) as being abnormally dry or worse, and it rated 16.7 percent of the country (including all or parts of 15 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:
3/31/15 – 54.0 percent abnormally dry or worse; 16.0 percent severe drought or worse;
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;
4/29/14 – 41.3 percent abnormally dry or worse; 22.4 percent severe drought or worse;

In the following states, over 50 percent of the state was categorized by the April 28 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 – 87% (with 49% in extreme or exceptional drought);

Oregon – 63% (with 34% in extreme drought).

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 May 1, 2015.

Drought US outlook as of May 1

PREVIOUS MONTHLY WATER-STATUS REPORTS

Please see this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Water+Status.

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