Category Archives: Weather

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending February 20, 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 February 20, 2017 (information available as of February 21).  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/.

feb-pond-photo-1feb-pond-photo-2A tale of two winters: top photo taken of a seasonally wet pond in Blacksburg, Virginia’s Heritage Park on February 13, 2016; bottom photo of the same location, February 20, 2017.

gage-new-river-at-radford-feb2017February 2017 Gaging Station of the Month:  New River at Radford, Feb. 18, 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 February 20, 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-feb20

precip-perc-feb-20
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 2/21/17.  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-feb21

 

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of February 7 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-feb20stream codes

 

February 24, 2016, Tornado in Appomattox County, Va., Recalled One Year Later in Lynchburg News & Advance Article

One year later—Bravery amid fear: riding out the tornado at Appomattox County High School,” by Ben Cates, Lynchburg News & Advance, 2/18/17, gives accounts from several staff and students at Appomattox County High School, in Appomattox, Va., who experienced the February 24, 2016, tornado that touched down about five miles from the school.

The tornado killed one county resident, made 40 families’ homes uninhabitable, and caused $11 million in damage.

The article is available online at http://www.newsadvance.com/news/local/bravery-amid-fear-riding-out-the-tornado-at-appomattox-county/article_775b0982-f659-11e6-8ae4-1b8051f5893e.html (as of 2/20/17), or contact the newspaper at 101 Wyndale Drive, Lynchburg, VA 24501; (434) 385-5400 or (800) 275-8830.

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending February 13, 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 February 13, 2017 (information available as of February 14).  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-feb2017-scottsville-old-one-feb11-09

February 2017 Gaging Station of the Month:  Old (replaced) station on the James River at Scottsville (Albemarle County), February 11, 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 February 13, 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-feb13precip-perc-feb13

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 2/14/17.  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-feb14

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending February 7, 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 February 7, 2017 (information available as of February 8).  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-feb2017-scottsville-old-one-feb11-09 February 2017 Gaging Station of the Month:  Old (replaced) station on the James River at Scottsville (Albemarle County), February 11, 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 23, 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-feb7precip-perc-feb-7
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 2/8/17.  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-feb-8

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of February 7 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-feb-7stream codes

Virginia’s Annual Statewide Tornado Drill will be March 21, 2017

Virginia’s annual statewide tornado drill will be held Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at 9:45 a.m.  If widespread severe weather threatens the Commonwealth on that date, the drill will be on  Wednesday, March 22, at 9:45 a.m.

According to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s notice about the 2017 drill (online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/news-local/statewide-drills/), “the Statewide Tornado Drill is a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.  At approximately 9:45 a.m., the National Weather Service will send a test tornado warning over NOAA Weather Radios.  This test signal will sound a tone alert, show a test message or flash to indicate a message, simulating what people would hear or see during an actual tornado warning.  Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will also broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System.”

To participate, see “How to Conduct a Tornado Drill,” online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/emergency-management-community/emergency-management-resources/tornado-drill/.

More Information from the VDEM on tornado safety is available online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/threat/tornadoes/.  Please see also the Water Central News Grouper Post, Tornado Preparedness in Virginia.

Virginia Water Status Report as of the End 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 end 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.

01-icon-precip

Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary (still needing verification) precipitation totals for January 2017 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 January 2017 Observed

 

Monthly Normal February 2016-

January 2017 Observed

Annual Normal
Blacksburg 4.50 3.08 44.00 40.89

 

Bluefield1

 

4.25 2.90 37.23 39.63
Bristol2

 

2.56 3.37 35.31 41.01
Charlottesville3

 

2.60 2.77 34.32 42.71
Danville

 

3.88 3.42 48.17 44.41
Lynchburg

 

3.78 3.14 43.51 41.57
Norfolk

 

4.41 3.40 68.65 46.53
Richmond

 

4.29 3.04 53.74 43.60
Roanoke

 

4.10 2.92 47.92 41.25
Wallops Island4

 

4.79 3.04 58.59 40.84
Washington-Dulles Airport5 2.73 2.68 33.59 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 31, 2017.  Please note that the scale is different for the 30-day map.]

precipperc30feb1precipperc60feb1precipperc90feb1 

02-icon-streamflow

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 January 2017 at 148 stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border were in the normal range at about 80% of gages, below normal at about 3%, and above normal at about 17%.  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-map-jan2017

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

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 31, 2017, accessed at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?id=pa07d&sid=w__plot&r=va on February 1, 2017.

streams-plot-feb1

 

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 31, 2017, showed about 30% of Virginia as “abnormally dry,” covering the northern and central Piedmont plus parts of several southwester counties on or near the border with North Carolina.  The January 31 report also showed about 0.5% of Virginia in “moderate drought,” located in Arlington and Fairfax counties.

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:
1/3/17 – 70.9% abnormally dry or worse, 15.4% moderate drought;
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;
2/2/16 – drought-free.

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent (as of 2/1/17) Drought Status Report on January 17, 2017.  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 February 9, 2017.  Following is a short excerpt from the January 17 report: “Although precipitation was near normal over most of Virginia during the last month, drier than normal conditions remain over much of the state.  The driest areas cover portions of northern Virginia.  Based upon the current three-month precipitation forecast (see below), the [Task Force] agreed to closely monitor conditions during January and meet again in February, 2017.  If the current dry conditions, especially in northern Virginia, have not lessened, the Task Force will discuss the need for a message to water users across Virginia to raise awareness of the long-term water supply impact of dry winter conditions.”

The Task Force also produces a map rating drought-status indicators.  As of February 1, 2017, the map’s database was undergoing revisions, so the daily maps are not available for now.

DROUGHT ELSEWHERE

The January 31, 2017, U.S. Drought Monitor rated 28.3% of the United States (including all or parts of 43 states) as being abnormally dry or worse.  The Drought Monitor rated about 3.2% of the country (including parts of 21 states), as being in severe drought or worse (categories D2, D3, and D4); this is the lowest nationwide percentage of severe-or-worse drought since 2.3% for the week of October 5, 2010.  (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:
1/3/17 – 40.3% abnormally dry or worse, 7.2% severe drought or worse;
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;
2/2/16 – 26.1% abnormally dry or worse, 7.1% severe drought or worse.

In one state, 50 percent or more of the state was rated by the January 31 Drought Monitor as in severe-or-worse drought:
Connecticut, 76%.

In California, 20% of the state was rated on 1/31/17 as being in severe-or-worse drought.  This severe-or-worse rating is the lowest for the Golden State since the week of November 13, 2012.  California’s current drought began in late 2011 to early 2012.  Following is some more information on California’s drought recovery, from the comments section of the January 31 Drought Monitor:
“…Despite improvements across much of the state, the longer-term impacts of the drought are still being observed in relation to groundwater supplies in various California locations.  In southern California, the San Diego County Water Authority issued a statement declaring that drought conditions in San Diego County have ended.  It should be noted, however, that the state of California is still officially in drought under Governor Brown’s drought declaration (1/17/14).”

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 February 1, 2017.

drought-us-feb1

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending January 23, 2017; Plus an Overview of Flooding Regionally

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 23, 2017 (information available as of January 23).  Also below is a national flooding overview map, as of January 24.  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 23, 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-jan23precip-perc-jan23

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 1/24/17.  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-jan24

 

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of January 23 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-jan23

stream codes

Flooding Overview Regionally

As of about 9 a.m. on January 24, 2017, about 30 stream-gaging stations in eastern and central Virginia were near flood stage or experiencing minor flooding.  The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Center’s map of river levels relative to flood stage (color-coded) is available online at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/forecasts.php; shown below is a screenshot of the map available online at that site as of 9 a.m. on 1/24/17 (zoomed to the region around Virginia).
screenshot-2017-01-24-09-08