Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending November 13, 2017, Plus an Overview of Flooding Nationwide and a 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 November 13, 2017 (information available as of November 14).
  2. An excerpt from the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force’s latest statewide assessment on , 2017, and a map showing the status of several drought indicators in different Virginia regions, as of November 14.
  3. Flooding overview maps for Virginia and nationwide, as of November 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:

For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the posts available at this link:

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,

GAGE Nov2017 Opequon Creek near Berryville at Rt 7 bridge Nov28 2010

November 2017 Gaging Station of the Month: Opequon Creek at U.S. Route 7 at the Clarke County/Frederick County line, November 28, 2010. U.S. Geological Survey information from this gage is online at For the Virginia map of gaging sites, see


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 November 13, 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  Maps for other regions are available online at

Precip Nov13PrecippercNov13

Another source of precipitation data is the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, online at  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 11/14/17.  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 Nov14

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at gaging stations as of November 13, 2017 are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at  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

streams Nov13

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

Flooding Overview

As of about 2:30 p.m. EST on November 14, 2017, about 7 stream-gaging stations in or adjacent to Virginia were [add as necessary: 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; at that site, one can select Virginia or any other state of interest.

Flooding 01 VaFlooding 02 US Nov14

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 November 3, 2017.  The report is available at the DMTF Web site,  The Task Force was scheduled to meet again on December 7, 2017.

Following is an excerpt from the November 3 report:

“During October, above-normal precipitation fell on much of the state, including southwestern Virginia, the lower (northern) Shenandoah Valley, and portions of central and eastern Virginia.  However, many locations outside of these areas received substantially lower than normal rainfall.  Streamflow gaging stations reported a wide range of flow conditions, with many stations across central and southern Virginia reporting below-normal flows (less than the 25th percentile).

“Most of the wells in the Virginia Climate Response network of groundwater level observation wells were reporting normal levels, except for the wells in central Virginia, which continued to report below normal levels….

“The most recent (October 19, 2017) U. S. Seasonal Drought Outlook for the period through January 31, 2018, indicated that the drought conditions in south-central Virginia may persist or even expand.  However, the

Monthly Drought Outlook released on October 31, 2017 indicated a likelihood of drought removal in this region. Task Force members from the NWS and Virginia Climatology Office pointed out that the long-term (three-month) forecast for Virginia is very uncertain due to the current ENSO–La Nina forecast.

“After discussion regarding the current hydrologic conditions and existing water use restrictions in several of the drought evaluation regions, the DMTF recommended continuing the existing Drought Watches in the Northern Piedmont, Middle James, Roanoke River and Shenandoah drought evaluation regions.  The next DMTF meeting was scheduled for December 7, 2017.  However, if normal to above normal precipitation conditions continue throughout the Shenandoah drought evaluation region, the DMTF may meet before that time to discuss a recommendation for lifting the drought watch declaration in that region.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Wilmington NC District reported that inflow conditions have improved somewhat at the Philpott and J. H. Kerr reservoirs in the Roanoke basin (especially Philpott).  The water levels at Philpott and J. H. Kerr dams are approximately 1.5 feet and 2.5 feet below guide curve, respectively.  There is some concern, however, that levels at J. H. Kerr may reach that reservoir’s winter drought warning level later this month.”

The Task Force also produces a map rating drought-status indicators.  Shown below is the map for November 14, 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.”  Note the emergency-conditions code (in red) for groundwater in one region and stream flow in one region.  Any given day’s current map and more information on drought status in Virginia are available the Task Force Web site,
Drought VA Nov14

Proper Well Abandonment is Well Worth Discussing on the 30th Anniversary in 2017 of the Baby Jessica Incident in Texas

On October 16, 1987, 18-month-old Jessica McClure was rescued from an abandoned water well in Midland, Texas.  The October 2017 issue of The Cross Section, from the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District in Lubbock, Tex., recalls the “Baby Jessica” story as a cautionary tale for the proper closure and sealing of wells that will not longer be used—a task of importance not only for safety of humans and animals but also for groundwater protection.  The newsletter is available online at; or contact the District at 2930 Avenue Q, Lubbock, TX 79411-2499l (806) 762-0181.

Following are some Virginia information resources related to well abandonment and sealing in Virginia.

*Virginia law on sealing temporarily or permanently abandoned wells is online at

*Water well tips from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation are available online at, or contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District  (the District Directory is available onlinee at

*“Proper Permanent Well Abandonment for Virginia Coastal Plain Wells,” from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Health, is available online at

*Some Virginia localities also provide information on proper well abandonment.

The Challenges of Wave Energy – An Overview on the Nov. 12, 2017, PBS NewsHour

On November 12, 2017, the PBS NewsHour broadcast “Scientists work to harness power from Hawaii’s waves,” available online at  Focusing on work being done in Hawaii, the 8 min./6 sec. segment examines efforts by scientists and entrepreneurs to develop technology that can generate electricity from ocean waves at an economically viable, commercial scale.  The report includes comments on the challenges of capturing wave energy from George Hagerman, a senior research associate with Virginia Tech’s Center for Energy and the Global Environment.

National Hurricane Center’s Graphical Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook for 2 Days and 5 Days, as of November 13, 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 the morning of about noon on November 13, 2017, a pre-tropical disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean, about 525 miles southwest of the Azore Islands, was being given a 30-percent chance of tropical cyclone formation within 2 days and a 50-percent chance within 5 days.  Shown below are the NHC’s two-day and five-day graphical tropical weather outlook maps as of early afternoon on November 13, accessed at
Tropical storms 2 day Nov13Tropical storms 5 day Nov13

On Virginia Water Radio for Veterans Day 2017: The U.S. Army

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of November 13, 2017, is “For Veterans Day 2017 – The U.S. Army and Its Wide-ranging Water Connections.”  The 4 min./31 sec. episode, available online at, is the latest in a series of annual episodes on the military services in honor of Veterans Day.

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

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Nov. 9-Nov. 22, 2017

For more information, click on underlined meeting dates. Click here for the Commonwealth Calendar listing of all government meetings open to the public, and here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall listing of all government meetings of a regulatory nature.

For other, non-governmental, events, please see the Water Central News Grouper post, Quick Guide to Virginia Water-related Events.


11/14/17, 9:30 a.m.: Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects/Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Section.  At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

11/15/17, 9 a.m.: Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board.  At the Perimeter Center, Training Room 1A, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

11/16/17, 10 a.m.: Air Pollution Control Board.  At the Capitol Building, House Room 1, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.

11/16/17, 10 a.m.: Soil and Water Conservation Board.  At the Virginia Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.  The Board’s District Audit Committee meets at 9 a.m. that day at the same location.

11/16/17, 10 a.m.: Department of Health’s Waterworks Advisory Committee.  At Sydnor Hydro, Inc., 2111 Magnolia Street in Richmond.

11/20/17, 10 a.m.: Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation.  At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

11/21/17, 9 a.m.: Gas and Oil Board.  At the Russell County Office Building, 139 Highland Drive in Lebanon.

11/17/17, 1 p.m.: Aquaculture Advisory Board.  At the Marriott City Center, 740 Town Center Drive in Newport News.

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For meetings of legislative committees and commissions, see  Links to information about General Assembly commissions, councils, and special interim committees coordinated by the Division of Legislative Services are available online at

None during this period.

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For more information about TMDLs in Virginia, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site; click on “Public Notices” in the menu to the left to access upcoming meetings and public-comment periods.  A search tool to find approved TMDL reports is available at

11/9/17, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of aquatic life (benthic) impairment in Catawba Creek and of bacterial impairment in the James River and tributaries Barbours Creek, Craig Creek, Catawba Creek, Lapsley Run, Little Patterson Creek, and Sinking Creek, all in the James River basin in Botetourt and Craig counties.  The 11/2/17 meeting is at Eagle Rock Library, 55 Eagles Nest Drive in Eagle Rock (Botetourt County); the 11/9/17 meeting is at the Catawba Community Center, 4955 Catawba Creek Road in Catawba (Roanoke County).

11/15/17, 5:30 p.m., on the TMDL modification process for aquatic life (benthic) and bacterial impairments in Blacks Run and Cooks Creek, located in the Shenandoah River/Potomac River wateshed in Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg.  At the Rockingham County Administration Building, Community Room, 20 East Gay Street in Harrisonburg.

11/16/17, 1 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) outreach meeting on Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), published in December 2010.  At the Miller Center Auditorium, 301 Grove Street in Lynchburg.  This is one of a series of outreach meetings on the Bay TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan.    According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, information will be provided on the status of on-going efforts to clean up the Bay, improvements in Bay water quality, and expectations and roles for the Phase III WIP and timelines.  Other meetings were held 1/30/17 in Woodbridge (Prince William County); 2/16/17 in Harrisonburg; 2/21/17, in Woodbridge, 3/6/17 in Harrisonburg, 4/17/17 in Glen Allen (Henrico County), 5/4/17, in St. Stephens Church (King & Queen County), 6/1/17 in Chesapeake, and 8/17/17 in Accomac (Accomack County).

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(topics listed alphabetically)

Air-Water Connections
11/13/17, 11 a.m.: DEQ public hearing on implementing reasonably available control technology (RACT) in support of the 2008 ozone standard in the Northern Virginia Emissions Control Area.  At the DEQ Northern Regional Office, 13901 Crown Court in Woodbridge (Prince William County).  The DEQ is seeking comments on plans to maintain compliance with the 2008 ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) in the Northern Virginia Ozone Nonattainment Area.  Proposals would be revisions to Virginia’s State Implementation Plan under Section 110(a) of the federal Clean Air Act.  The public comment period runs 10/16/17 to 11/15/17.  More information on the RACT proposal is available online at

Chesapeake Bay
11/9/17, 1 p.m., and 11/10/17, 9 a.m. [link to PDF of agenda]; Chesapeake Bay Commission.  On 11/9/17, at the Pennsylvania State Capitol, 205 Ryan Office Building, 501 North Third Street in Harrisburg; on 11/10/17, at the Hilton Harrisburg, One North Second Street in Harrisburg.  According to the Commission’s Web site (, the Commission “is a tri-state legislative commission created in 1980 to advise the members of the General Assemblies of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania on matters of Bay-wide concern.  The Commission serves as the legislative arm of the multi-jurisdictional Chesapeake Bay Program (, and acts in an advisory capacity to [the states’] General Assemblies.”  The Commission has 21 members, including 15 from the legislatures of the three states, the three state natural-resource cabinet secretaries, and three citizen representatives.  The next meeting will be January 4-5, 2018, in Annapolis, Md.

Fort Monroe
11/9/17, 1 p.m.: Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee.  At 20 Ingalls Road in Fort Monroe (adjacent to the City of Hampton).  On 12/15/16 at 1 p.m., the full Board of Trustees meets at Paradise Ocean Club, 490 Fenwick Road in Fort Monroe.  In 2011, the Virginia General Assembly (Senate Bill 1400) established the Fort Monroe Authority to manage the historic areas of Fort Monroe and Old Point Comfort—at the confluence of Hampton Roads with the Chesapeake Bay—after the federal government closed its military facilities there.  Fort Monroe had been a U.S. military base since 1836.  In 2011, the area was designated as Fort Monroe National Monument (  More information about Fort Monroe and the Authority is available online at

Resource Management Mapping and Planning
11/13/17, 10 a.m.: Virginia Geographic Information Network (VGIN) Advisory Board.  At 1751 Meadowville Lane in Chester (Chesterfield County).  VGIN was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1997 to help support the creation, development, and use of geographic information and related technology for state and local government agencies, colleges and universities, and other Commonwealth users of maps and geographic information.  It’s coordinated by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA).  More information is available online at

Oyster Information Sources for Virginia Oyster Month in November 2017

On November 6, 2017, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe designated November as Virginia Oyster Month.  The designation is intended to call attention to the role of the oyster industry in the Virginia’s current economy and the long heritage of oyster-based communities and cultural events.

Following is an excerpt from the Governor’s Office’s Nov. 6, 2017, news release, Governor McAuliffe Announces November as Virginia Oyster Month:
“’The Commonwealth boasts eight oyster regions, each producing oysters with unique flavors that are as distinct as the water in which they grow,’ [said Gov. McAuliffe]…[According to] Basil Gooden, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, ‘Last year, Virginia sold more than 40 million oysters, which resulted in an $18.5 million economic impact for the Commonwealth.’  [According to] Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade, ‘Agritourism accounts for $2.2 billion in economic impact in the Commonwealth, and the oyster industry is an important part of that story.  Our watermen and farmers are now offering educational tours and hands-on experiences, affording them an opportunity to tap into this multi-billion industry and expand their businesses.’  [According to] Molly Ward, Secretary of Natural Resources, ‘Oysters are a keystone species in the ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay and our coastal waters.  Oysters…filter waters and oyster reefs are a critical habitat for many aquatic species of fish, shellfish and other important organisms that ensure clean, productive and healthy waters.’  …In November 2015, Governor McAuliffe announced the launch of the Virginia Oyster Trail, a major tourism development project connecting travelers to Virginia oyster purveyors, raw bars and restaurants, artisans, and the watermen culture throughout Coastal Virginia, the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and the Eastern Shore.  The Virginia Oyster Trail has been recognized by the U.S. Travel Association, and currently boasts more than 100 sites.  There are also many oyster-related festivals, special events, and attractions….  This year marked the 60th anniversary of the Urbanna Oyster Festival, which has also been recognized as the Official Oyster Festival of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

In recognition of Virginia Oyster Month, following are some information resources on oysters in Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay, and elsewhere.

Artisans Center of Virginia, “Virginia Oyster Trail,” online at

Chesapeake Bay Program, “Eastern Oyster,” online at

Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2006.

University of Maryland Extension, “Oyster Aquaculture and Education Program, online at

Maryland Sea Grant, “Oysters,” online at; and “Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration,” online at

Clyde L. McKenzie, Jr., “History of Oystering in the United States and Canada, Featuring the Eight Greatest Oyster Estuaries,” Marine Fisheries Review, Vol. 58, No. 4, 1996, available online at

Roger I. E. Newell and Roger Mann, “Shellfish Aquaculture: Ecosystem Effects, Benthic-Pelagic Coupling and Potential for Nutrient Trading” (report prepared for the Virginia secretary of natural resources), June 21, 2012, available online from the Chesapeake Bay Program at

Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, “Delaware Bay Oysters,” online at

Patricia Samford, Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum/Maryland State Museum of Archeology, “Oyster Wars,” 7/9/13, online at

Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, “Crassostrea virginica/Eastern Oyster,” online at

Andrew David Thayer, Mud, Shuck, and Spat, by in Hakai Magazine (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 3/15/16.

Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), “Oysters @ VIMS,” online at

Virginia Marine Resources Commission/Conservation and Replenishment Department, online at (offers several oyster-related links).

Virginia Tourism Corporation, “Virginia Oysters,” online at

World Oyster Society, online at

And for two audio takes on oysters, nitrogen, and the Chesapeake Bay, have a listen to Virginia Water Radio Episode 279, 8/24/15 (4 min./23 sec.) and Episode 280, 9/7/15 (4 min./41 sec.).