Category Archives: Weather

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending July 20, 2016

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending July 20, 2016 (information available as of July 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/.

July 2016 Gage Cowpasture River at Rt 633 Jul19 09 July 2016 Gaging Station of the Month:
On the Cowpasture River (James River/Chesapeake Bay basin) at State Route 633 near Iron Gate, Va. (Alleghany County), July 19, 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 July 20, 2016.  The maps were accessed from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip Jul20Precip perc Jul20

Another source of precipitation data is 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, and other map layers available include river flood forecasts and current flood/severe weather warnings.  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.

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of July 20, 2016, 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 Jul20KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending July 13, 2016, 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 July 13, 2016 (information available as of July 14).  Also below is the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force’s daily map showing the status of several drought indicators in different Virginia regions, as of July 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/.

July 2016 Gage Cowpasture River at Rt 633 Jul19 09
July 2016 Gaging Station of the Month
: On the Cowpasture River (James River/Chesapeake Bay basin) at State Route 633 near Iron Gate, Va. (Alleghany County), July 19, 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 July 13, 2016.  The maps were accessed from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip July 13Precip perc July 13

Another source of precipitation data is 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, and other map layers available include river flood forecasts and current flood/severe weather warnings.  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.

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of July 13, 2016, 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 July 13

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph


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 May 16, 2016.  The report is available at the DMTF Web site, http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.  The Task Force is scheduled to meet and report next on July 14, 2016.

The Task Force also produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators.  Shown below is the July 14, 2016, 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 July 14

Drought in Atlanta, Ga., Area in Summer 2016

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly report for July 5, 2016, the areas around Atlanta, Georgia, are in “severe” or “extreme” drought.  The Drought Monitor (available online at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) identifies five levels of dry conditions: D1 = abnormally dry; D2 = moderate drought; D3 = severe drought; D4 = extreme drought; D5 = exceptional drought.  As of the July 5 report, about 28 percent of the Peach State (concentrated in the northern section) was in severe drought and about 7 percent in extreme drought, and an estimated 6.7 million people were in drought-affected areas.  Below is the July 5 Drought Monitor map and table of statistics for Georgia.  Following the map are some news media accounts about dry conditions in and around metropolitan Atlanta and in the state’s peach-growing regions.

Georgia drought

 

Some news media accounts of Georgia drought in summer 2016
Drought affects GA peach harvest, WSB TV/Atlanta, 7/5/16.
Drought Conditions Expand Around Atlanta, North Georgia, WABE 90.1 FM/Atlanta, 7/1/16.
Severe drought expands in Georgia, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/23/16.
As feared drought in Georgia worsens, Kirk Mellish’s Weather Commentary, WSB 95.5 FM/Atlanta, 6/23/16.

Sea-level Rise Adaptation and Mitigation in Norfolk, Va., are Focus of July 2016 PRI Feature

“How One Virginia City is Re-framing Sea-level Rise as an Opportunity,” by Carolyn Beeler, is a 5 min./35 sec. audio on efforts by businesses, local government, and universities in the Norfolk, Va., region to find and offer ways for homeowners and other property owners to mitigate or adapt to the impacts of current and predicted sea-level rises.  Aired on June 27, 2016, by PRI (Public Radio International), the piece is available online at http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-06-27/how-one-virginia-city-re-framing-sea-level-rise-opportunity.

Virginia Water Status Report as of the End of June 2016, 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 June 2016.  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.

Precipitation Icon by George Wills

Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary (still needing verification) precipitation totals for June 2016 at 11 Virginia or near-Virginia locations, along with the normal 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 normal annual precipitation for each location.  All values are in inches.

Location June 2016

Precipitation

 

Normal for Month July 2015-June 2016 Precipitation

 

Normal Annual Precipitation
Blacksburg 3.28 4.00 49.29 40.89

 

Bluefield1

 

3.40 4.14 41.14 39.63
Bristol2

 

1.92 3.90 45.04 41.01
Charlottesville3

 

3.75 3.73 46.13 42.71
Danville

 

7.70 3.85 61.29 44.41
Lynchburg

 

6.27 3.62 52.26 41.57
Norfolk

 

5.06 4.26 53.59 46.53
Richmond

 

7.81 3.93 53.62 43.60
Roanoke

 

6.03 3.83 54.27 41.25
Wallops Island4

 

6.49 3.29 49.22 40.84
Washington-Dulles Airport5 6.35 3.98 42.10 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 June 30, 2016.

Precip 30 June 30
Precip 60 Jun 30
Precip 90 June 30

 

Stream flow icon by George Wills

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 June 2016 at 157 stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border were in the normal range at about 61% of gages, above normal at about 30%, much above normal at about 9%, and below normal at the James River/Kanawha Canal near Richmond.  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 June
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 June 29, 2016, accessed at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?id=pa07d&sid=w__plot&r=va on July 1, 2016.

Streams 45 days

Water status icons groundwater by George Wills

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).

 

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 June 28, 2016, showed about 2.8% of Virginia as abnormally dry, along the northwestern edge of the Commonwealth.

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:|
5/31/16 – 2.5% abnormally dry;
4/26/16 – 95% abnormally dry or worse; 4% in moderate drought.
3/29/16 – drought-free;
6/30/15 – 12.5% abnormally dry.

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

The Drought Monitoring Task Force also produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators.  Shown below is daily map for July 1, 2016.  The status-indicator abbreviations on that map are as follows: GW = groundwater levels, Prcp = precipitation deficits, Res – reservoir storage, and Flow = stream flow conditions.  For each region of Virginia, the indicators are color coded for “normal,” “watch,” “warning,” or “emergency conditions.”  Any given day’s current map and more information on drought status in Virginia are available the Task Force Web site listed above.

Drought VA July 1
DROUGHT ELSEWHERE

The June 28, 2016, U.S. Drought Monitor rated 40.8% of the United States (including all or parts of 45 states, plus Puerto Rico) as being abnormally dry or worse.  The Drought Monitor rated 4.6% of the country (including all or parts of 14 states), as being in severe drought or worse (categories D2, D3, and D4).  The highest percentage in the severe-or-worse categories reported by the Drought Monitor since it began in 2000 was 38.5% of the country for the week of August 7, 2012.

The nationwide percentages for abnormally dry or worse (D0-D4) and severe or worse (D2-D4) in the previous three months and one year ago were as follows:
5/31/16 – 29.4% abnormally dry or worse; 3.6% severe drought or worse;
4/26/16 – 37.0% abnormally dry or worse; 5.0% severe drought or worse;
3/29/16 – 35.3% abnormally dry or worse; 4.9% severe drought or worse;
6/30/15 – 41.7% abnormally dry or worse; 13.0% severe drought or worse.

In California, 59.0% of the state was categorized by the June 28 report as being in severe-or-worse drought.  This severe-or-worse percentage—which has been the Drought Monitor rating for California since the week of 5/31/16—is the lowest reported by the Drought Monitor for the Golden State since 53.5% for the week of June 11, 2013.  California’s current drought began in late 2011 to early 2012.

Here’s a comment from the 6/28/16 Drought Monitor on increasingly dry conditions in the region near Atlanta, Ga.: “…pockets of Extreme Drought (D3) were introduced into the driest areas of northeastern Alabama and northern Georgia, where 90-day rainfall has totaled locally less than 45 percent of normal

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 July 1, 2016.

Drought Outlook US July 1

Flood-mitigation Grants Announced in July 2016 by Va. Governor’s Office

On July 1, 2016, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office announced $2.8 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood-mitigation grants that will be used to acquire and removal of six flood-prone residential properties and to elevate seven other residences.  The projects, which require voluntary homeowner participation in order to proceed, would be in Prince William County and in the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach.  The grants are to be administered by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

More information about FEMA’s flood-mitigation programs is available online at http://www.fema.gov/flood-mitigation-assistance-program.

Source: Governor McAuliffe Announces $2.8 Million in Flood Mitigation Grants, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/1/16.

Flooding in West Virginia in June 2016 – Information Sources

A line of thunderstorms on June 22-23, 2016, produced between 4 and 12 inches of rain in mountainous parts of eastern West Virginia and western Virginia, leading to devastating and fatal flooding in the Mountain State, as well as flooding in Virginia’s Alleghany Highlands.  A major federal disaster declaration for West Virginia was issued on June 25.  Following are several sources of information on the events.

Kevin Myatt, “Weather Journal” in The Roanoke Times: Train of storms triggered epic W.Va. flooding, Roanoke Times, 6/28/16; and Historic flooding in Alleghany Highlands, 6/24/16.

Charleston [W.Va.] Gazette-Mail, “2016 Flood,” online at http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/2016floods.

West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, online at http://www.dhsem.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx.

Federal Emergency Management Agency, “West Virginia Severe Storms, Flooding, Landslides, and Mudslides (DR-4273),” online at https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4273.