Category Archives: Weather

Virginia State and Locality Responses to Hurricane Affected Areas in August-September 2017, According to Governor’s News Release on September 22, 2017

On September 22, 2017, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe authorized the Virginia National Guard to send 120 soldiers to the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of the response efforts among several states and agencies to Hurricane Maria and earlier to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  Following is an excerpt from the Governor’s Office news release on the Virgin Islands deployment; the excerpt also includes information on deployment by state agencies and local response teams to other areas for previous storms in 2017.

Except Begins

Governor McAuliffe today has authorized the Virginia National Guard to send 120 soldiers to the U.S. Virgin Islands to join a multi-state, multi-agency response effort to recent hurricanes.  The Commonwealth of Virginia continues to send needed supplies, personnel and expertise into the storm-ravaged areas to assist with recovery and give emergency managers on the ground a rest from the relentless demands of their jobs helping others deal with these catastrophic events.

An advance team arrived in the region on September 18, 2017, just before Hurricane Maria made landfall.  The 120 soldiers authorized today are assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and will deploy in the next week as the mission command headquarters to synchronize the response and coordinate logistical support.  Up to 400 additional soldiers are scheduled to follow soon after to conduct humanitarian assistance, clear roads, and distribute essential supplies to citizens.  Virginia National Guard soldiers will be deployed on the ground by the U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp to get assistance where it is most needed. …

Virginia has coordinated 10 missions of aid to these regions [listed below], not including countless assistance efforts coordinated by religious and non-profit organizations based in Virginia.  The largest single mission is readying to deploy this week, including the hundreds of Virginia National Guard personnel deploying to the Virgin Islands to assist with the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. …Since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas last month, Virginia has been providing emergency management and response assistance across the southeastern portions of the nation.  Missions can be coordinated through federal partners such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), or through a cooperative agreement between states called the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), through which impacted states can input their needs for assistance and other states can quickly mobilize resources to meet those needs.  Logistics and financial reimbursement are then coordinated through the EMAC system. …

*In late August, the Virginia National Guard sent approximately 40 soldiers and six helicopters to Texas to assist with Hurricane Harvey recovery operations, and after transporting medical personnel and supplies, they safely returned to Virginia in early September.

*On September 18, a joint incident management team comprised of 15 individuals from across the Commonwealth deployed to assist with emergency operations center management in Monroe County, Florida (Florida Keys).  The team will provide command and control support in the region through early October.

*A Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) volunteer coordinator is currently working in Texas to assist with coordination of thousands of volunteers arriving in the area through non-profit and religious organizations.  This mission is slated to continue through the end of September.

*Roanoke’s 17-person Strike Team 6 deployed to Texas on August 30and spent more than a week conducting water rescues of civilians trapped in the rising flood waters from Hurricane Harvey.

*The 14-person Fairfax Task Force 1 deployed to Texas on a mission organized by the federal government to assist in swift water rescues of civilians from August 27 to September 6.

*Virginia Beach Virginia Task Force 2 deployed to Texas to assist in federal government organized assistance, providing swift water rescue support through September 5.

*A blended incident management team comprised of emergency managers from across the Commonwealth deployed to Texas from September 1 to September 9 to provide emergency management command and control support.

*Virginia’s Task Force 2 from Virginia Beach deployed to Puerto Rico under a federal response effort to provide on-the-ground emergency response support for both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.  Personnel originally deployed September 4 in anticipation of Irma, and 16 additional personnel were deployed on September 7 to address the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria.

*Virginia’s Task Force 1 from Fairfax deployed to Alabama September 6 to provide immediate on the ground support following the impacts of Hurricane Irma.

*The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Restoration and Cleanup Strike Team deployed to Florida in late August to assist with on-the-ground cleanup efforts from Hurricane Irma.

To learn how to help those who have been affected by the recent natural disasters please visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/want-help-hurricane-victims-heres-right/.

Excerpt Ends

Source: Governor McAuliffe Authorizes National Guard to Deploy Significant Force to U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 9/22/17.

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending September 19, 2017, Plus an Overview of Flooding Nationwide and Mid-Month Drought Assessment

Below are several items summarizing recent precipitation and stream flow:

  1. Images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending September 19, 2017 (information available as of September 20).
  2. An excerpt from the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force’s latest statewide assessment on September 18, 2017 and a map showing the status of several drought indicators in different Virginia regions, as of September 19.
  3. Flooding overview maps for Virginia and nationwide, as of September 20.

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 Sep 2017 Wolf Creek near Narrows Sep4 2017 TWO

September 2017 Gaging Station of the Month: Wolf Creek near Narrows (Giles County), September 4, 2017. For the Virginia map of gaging sites, see https://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/rt.

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 September 19, 2017.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).  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.

precip Sep9precipperc Sep19

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 8 a.m. EDT on 9/20/17.  The impact of Hurricane Irma on the southeastern United States is clear from this graph.  Please note that UTC, the time shown on the maps at the site, is four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time and five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Precip US Sep20

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at gaging stations as of September 19, 2017 are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 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.  Note: Additional gaging stations (such as for reservoirs or for inactive sites) are shown on maps available at the USGS’ National Water Information System Mapper, online at https://maps.waterdata.usgs.gov/mapper/index.html.

Streams Sep19

stream codes

Flooding Overview

As of about 11:55 a.m. EDT on September 19, 2017, 18 stream-gaging stations in or near Virginia were either experiencing flooding or near flood stage, according to the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service’s (AHPS) map of stream and river levels relative to flood stage (color-coded) for Virginia and nearby areas.  The AHPS map for Virginia is shown below, along with the nationwide map as of the same time.  The maps are available online at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/forecasts.php; at that site, one can select Virginia or any other state of interest.

Flooding 01 USFlooding 02 US

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 18, 2017.  The report is available at the DMTF Web site, http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.  The Task Force was scheduled to meet again on October 12, 2017.

Following is an excerpt from the September 18  report:

“Normal to below-normal temperatures prevailed across much of Virginia during the latter part of August and early September.  Precipitation amounts during this same period were highly variable.  Stream flow gaging stations reported flows that were generally within the normal range (between the 25th and 75th percentiles); with some stations in scattered locations across central, southern and western Virginia reporting below-normal flows.  Most of the wells in the Virginia Climate Response network of groundwater level observation wells were reporting normal to above-normal levels, except for the wells in central Virginia, which continued to report below normal levels.  The DMTF agreed to recommend continuing the existing Drought Watch in the Northern Piedmont region, based upon a forecast for above-normal temperatures, below-normal precipitation and the continuing low groundwater levels with consequent potential for low base flows.

“For the current water year (October 1, 2016–September 15, 2017) precipitation totals remained below the drought watch indicator level for precipitation (85% of normal) for one of Virginia’s thirteen drought evaluation regions.  The Northern Piedmont region received 83% of normal precipitation for the current water year.”

The Task Force also produces a map rating drought-status indicators.  Shown below is the map for September 19, 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, http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.
Drought VA

National Hurricane Center’s Graphical Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook for 2 Days and 5 Days, as of September 18, 2017 – Hurricanes Jose and Maria Having Impacts, with TD Lee in the mid-Atlantic

Here’s a look at the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) Atlantic tropical weather outlook for the next few days.  The Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts these outlooks approximately weekly (depending on the level of weather activity) during the Atlantic tropical storm season (June 1-November 30).

As of 2 p.m. EDT on September 18, 2017, the center of Hurricane Jose (Category 1 at the time) was located about halfway between the North Carolina coast and the island of Bermuda; the storm was expected to bring strong currents, ocean swells, substantial rainfall, and possibly tropical-storm-force winds to the much of the U.S. East Coast through Friday, September 22.  The center of Hurricane Maria (Category 3 at the time) was over the Caribbean’s Leeward Island and was predicted to remain a major hurricane and move along those islands and over Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas by Saturday, September 23.  And Tropical Depression Lee was in the mid-Atlantic and was predicted to stay in that general area through September 22.

Shown below are the NHC’s two-day and five-day graphical tropical weather outlooks as of 2 p.m. EDT on September 18, accessed at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Tropical Storms 2 day Sep18tropical storms 5 day Sep18

Hurricane Irma Information Sources as of Sep. 13, 2017

Hurricane Irma observed rain totals and wind reports, through 11 p.m. EDT on September 11, 2017, are available from the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center at College Park, Md., online at http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/winter_storm_summaries/storm20/stormsum_7.html.

National Hurricane Center (NHC) information on Irma is available online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2017/IRMA.shtml?.

The NHC Web site for current advisories, tracks, etc., of tropical storms is http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.shtml.

Following are links to some southeastern U.S. news media sources that covered Irma:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, online at http://www.ajc.com/;
Key West Citizen, online at https://keysnews.com/;
[Jacksonville] Florida Times-Union, online at http://jacksonville.com/;
Miami Herald, online at http://www.miamiherald.com/;
Puerto Rico Monitor (English), online at http://puertoricomonitor.blogspot.com.au/;
Tampa Tribune, online at http://www.tbo.com/;
Virgin Islands Daily News, online at http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/.

Following are links to other sources of information on Irma:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-irma.
Governor of Alabama: http://governor.alabama.gov/irma;
Governor of Florida news releases: http://www.flgov.com/?s=Irma;
Governor of Georgia news releases: https://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2017.

Below is a graph of Irma’s wind history, taken from the NHC Web site at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2017/IRMA_graphics.php; followed by a satellite photo of Irma on September 7, as the storm was moving across the northern Caribbean Sea islands and heading towards Florida (landfall there on September 12).

Irma windsIrma

National Hurricane Center’s Graphical Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook for 2 Days and 5 Days, as of September 12, 2017

Here’s a look at the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) Atlantic tropical weather outlook for the next few days.  The Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts these outlooks approximately weekly (depending on the level of weather activity) during the Atlantic tropical storm season (June 1-November 30).

As of September 12, 2017, the center of Hurricane Jose was located northeast of the Bahama Islands and was predicted to stay in that region of the Atlantic through at least Saturday, Sept. 16.  At the same time, a pre-tropical disturbance Atlantic Ocean about midway between Africa and South America was being given by the NHC a 10-percent chance of tropical cyclone formation within 48 hours as well as a 10-percent chance within five days.  Shown below are a satellite image of Hurricane Jose as of 3:15 p.m. EDT on September 12, accessed at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site at http://www.goes.noaa.gov/browsh.html; and the NHC’s two-day and five-day graphical tropical weather outlooks as of 2 p.m. EDT on September 12, accessed at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Hurricane Jose Sep12

tropical storms 2 day Sep12
tropical storms 5 day Sep12

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending September 11, 2017, Plus an Overview of Flooding Nationwide

Below are several items summarizing recent precipitation and stream flow:

  1. Images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending September 11, 2017 (information available as of September 12).
  2. Flooding overview maps for Virginia and nationwide, as of September 12.

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 Sep 2017 Wolf Creek near Narrows Sep4 2017 TWO

September 2017 Gaging Station of the Month: Wolf Creek near Narrows (Giles County), September 4, 2017. For the Virginia map of gaging sites, see https://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/rt.

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 September 12, 2017.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).  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.

precipSep11precippercSep11

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 8 a.m. EDT on 9/12/17.  The impact of Hurricane Irma on the southeastern United States is clear from this graph.  Please note that UTC, the time shown on the maps at the site, is four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time and five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Precip US 7-day Sep12

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at gaging stations as of September 11, 2017 are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 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.  Note: Additional gaging stations (such as for reservoirs or for inactive sites) are shown on maps available at the USGS’ National Water Information System Mapper, online at https://maps.waterdata.usgs.gov/mapper/index.html.

Streams Sep11

stream codes

Flooding Overview

As of about 2:15 p.m. EDT on September 12, 2017, 9 stream-gaging stations in or near Virginia were either experiencing flooding or near flood stage, according to the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service’s (AHPS) map of stream and river levels relative to flood stage (color-coded) for Virginia and nearby areas.  The AHPS map for Virginia is shown below, along with the nationwide map as of the same time.  The maps are available online at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/forecasts.php; at that site, one can select Virginia or any other state of interest.

Flooding 01 VAFlood 02 US

On Virginia Water Radio for 9-11-17: Storm Surge

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of September 11, 2017, is “Storm Surge in Irma and Other Tropical Cyclones.”  The 4 min./42 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/09/episode-385-9-11-17-storm-surge-in-irma.html, revisits the tropical cyclone threat of storm surge (also the subject of episodes in 2012 and 2016, following the arrivals of Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Matthew, respectively).

385 image 2

These maps, from the Miami/South Florida National Weather Service Forecast Office, online at http://www.weather.gov/mfl/, 9/8/17, 10:30 a.m. EDT, show how storm surge was predicted to be one of Irma’s major threats.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two!