Category Archives: Weather

1889 Rainstorm-caused Train Wreck Tragically Linking Bedford County, Va., with Cleveland, Tenn., Commemorated in New Virginia Historical Marker, Unveiled May 19, 2015

On May 19, 2015, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources unveiled a new marker commemorating the July 2, 1889, rainstorm-caused train wreck near the Bedford County, Va., town of Thaxton, that killed at least 18 people, including three prominent citizens of Cleveland, Tennessee.

A new sign marks site of 1889 train wreck in Thaxton, by columnist Dan Casey, Roanoke Times, 5/21/15, looks back at the event and reports on the marker-unveiling ceremony.  The wreck resulted from heavy rain that swelled normally small Wolf Creek and washed out a railroad embankment. The accident had a major impact on Cleveland, which soon afterwards erected a monument to its lost citizens.  The Tennessee city played a prominent role in the Virginia marker, too: the Allan Jones Foundation of Cleveland financed the cost of the marker, paid for a catered lunch for the unveiling ceremony, and charterd a bus to bring several Cleveland citizens to the ceremony, including Allan Jones and Cleveland’s current mayor.

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

On Virginia Water Radio for 5-18-15: Atlantic Tropical Storm Season Barges In With a New Set of Names

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, Episode 266, 5-18-15, is “Here Comes Atlantic  Tropical Storm Season 2015.”  The 3 min./31 sec. episode is Water Radio’s annual preview of the upcoming tropical storm season, featuring the names planned for this year’s storms, one of which–Ana–already came and left before the season officially starts on June 1.

Ana May 11

Former Tropical Storm Ana, by this time downgraded to a tropical depression, over North Carolina and southeastern Virginia on May 11, 2015, 8:45 a.m. EDT. Photo taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site at http://www.goes.noaa.gov/browsh.html, on 5/11/15, 9:45 a.m. EDT.

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!

Federal Low-interest Loans Approved in April 2015 for Southwestern Virginia Residents and Businesses Affected by February 2015 Storms and Flooding

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia governor’s office’s Apr. 30, 2015, news release on federal low-interest loans for residents and businesses of  Wise County and contiguous localities who were affected by winter storms and flooding in February 2015.

Low-Interest Recovery Loans Available to Help Southwest Virginia Residents Affected By Winter Storms and Flooding, 4/30/15.

Excerpt: “…[T]he U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has made low-interest disaster loans available to homeowners, businesses and private, nonprofit organizations such as charities, churches, and private universities in Southwest Virginia to help them recover from major damage sustained during February’s winter storms and subsequent flooding.  … Although the SBA request is approved for Wise County, [the counties of Dickenson, Lee, Russell, and Scott] and the city of Norton are also are eligible to apply for these loans, as they are contiguous to Wise County.  Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to help repair or restore their primary home to its pre-disaster condition. Personal property loans are also available to provide homeowners or renters with up to $40,000 to help repair or replace personal property, such as clothing, furniture and automobiles lost in the disaster.  In addition, businesses suffering damage could receive loans of up to $2 million to help repair or replace damaged property and provide working capital for economic injury.”

On May 1, the SBA opened a Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Wise County Sheriff’s Office in the Town of Wise.

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

Preliminary Severe Weather Reports for May 9-10, 2015, from NWS/Storm Prediction Center

Below are the National Weather Service/Storm Prediction Center’s maps of preliminary (not yet verified) reports of high winds, hail, and tornadoes in the continental United States on May 9 and May 10, 2015, including fatal tornadoes on May 10 in Arkansas and Texas.  (For a news account, see At Least Five Dead After Storms Rip Through Southern US, French Press Agency [AFP], as published on Yahoo.com, 5/11/15).

May 9 storm reports May 10 storm reports

The daily storm-report maps and notes are available online at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/.  From that link, you can also access the Center’s archive of maps and reports going back several years.

Tropical Depression Ana over North Carolina as of early May 11, 2015

As of 8:45 a.m., EDT, on Monday, May 11, 2015, Tropical Depression Ana  was centered over the coastal areas of North Carolina.  Ana had become a tropical storm on May 9 and made landfall on May 10.

Below are a satellite photo of the storm at 8:45 a.m. on May 11 and a  map of the storm’s predicted track predicted tract through the early afternoon of Tuesday May 12 (prediction issued on May 10).  Both images were accessed via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Hurricane Center Web site, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/, 5/11/15.

Ana May 11

Ana Track May 11 2 pm