Severe Weather Predictions and Reports Available Daily from Storm Prediction Center

For predictions of severe weather or for reports and maps of severe weather that has occurred, visit the National Weather Service/Storm Prediction Center online at  The Storm Prediction Center’s daily storm-report maps and notes are available online at  From that link, you can also access the Center’s archive of maps and reports going back several years.  As an example, shown below is the storm report map for April 15, 2018, when numerous tornadoes, hail, and high winds were reported in from Virginia to Florida.  (For more on Virginia tornadoes that day, see Tornado strength in Elon upgraded to EF3, Lynchburg News & Advance, 4/17/18.)

Please note that the daily report maps are considered “preliminary” until the reports can be verified later.

180415_rpts Reports Graphic

The Storm Prediction Center site also has several forecast products, including weather watches/warnings and fire outlooks.  Those products are available at


On Virginia Water Radio for 4-16-18: Catch Some Spring Fever from an Eastern Phoebe

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of April 16, 2018, is “The Flycatching Eastern Phoebe’s Song Helps Listeners Catch Spring Fever.”  The 3 min./49 sec. episode, available online at, is an introduction a common Virginia member of the bird family of flycatchers.  The episode includes part of “Spring Fever” by John McCutcheon.

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!

National Prescription Drug Take-back Day is April 28, 2018

April 28, 2018, is the next scheduled National Prescription Drug Take-back Day.

Coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and conducted by law-enforcement agencies nationwide, the event is designed to help people properly dispose of unused drugs.  Proper disposal helps prevent improper drug use and helps keep chemicals out of waterways.

To see if a take-back day is happening near you,  visit the U.S. Department of Justice “National Prescription Drug Take Back” Web site,, where you can search for the take-back location nearest you; or call your local police or sheriff’s department.

For an audio take on proper disposal of medications, have a listen to Virginia Water Radio Episode 417 (4-23-18) (3 min./42 sec.).

Quick Guide to Virginia Water-related Events – April 10, 2018, Edition

Please note: Due to changes in staff at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center starting in May 2018, this will be the last update in this series of posts on Virginia water-related events.  For current information on water-related conferences and other events, please see the “Announcements” posts at the Virginia Water Monitoring Council Web site,

Boats and crews 2 Batteau Fest Jun15 2013One of Virginia’s most distinctive water-related events: the annual James River Batteau Festival, launched every June in Lynchburg, Va.  Shown above is the launch on June 15, 2013.  The 33rd annual festival runs June 16-23, 2018.

This post lists conferences, meetings, and other events related to Virginia’s water resources and held in Virginia (in  most cases; nearby out-of-state events are occasionally included).  Except for online meetings or seminars, the events here typically are at least several hours long (for example, this site does not list the frequent one-hour water-related seminars held at Virginia colleges or universities).  This post is updated as information becomes available and is re-posted monthly.

This list does not include Virginia government meetings (except for a listing of the dates of the Virginia General Assembly, which starts each January).  The News Grouper blog has a post on those meetings each week, at

For water-related meetings outside of Virginia, please see the Grouper post, “A Water Conference Sampler from around the United States and Elsewhere,” re-posted quarterly.

Thanks to the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC) for providing some of the information in this post.  More information about the VWMC is available online at

For links to events lists from several other organizations, please see the bottom of this post.

Continuing through October 31, 2018, statewide: Virginia Household Water Quality Program drinking-water clinics.  People who rely on private wells, springs, or cisterns can get their water tested inexpensively for key constituents and receive a report interpreting the results.  The cost to participate in 2017 was $55.  A list of upcoming clinics in 2018 is available at  For more information, contact Erin James Ling, at (540) 231-9058 or

April 11, 2018, Roanoke: Annual “Water is Life” Conference.  Organized by the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP).  More information:; or e-mail

Apr. 28, 2018: National Prescription Drug Take-back Day.  Coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and conducted by law-enforcement agencies nationwide.  The event is designed to help people properly dispose of unused drugs in order to help prevent improper drug use and to keep chemicals out of waterways.  To see if a take-back day is happening near you, call your local police or sheriff’s department, or visit the U.S. Department of Justice “National Take Back Initiative” Web site at, where you can search for the take-back location nearest you.

April 26-28, 2018, Chesapeake and Suffolk: Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival.  More information:

May 1-4, 2018, Richmond: Virginia Forestry Summit.  Organized by the Virginia Forestry Association.  More information:; (804) 278-8733;

May 8-9, 2018, Staunton:  Virginia Turfgrass Council’s Come to the Valley Conference.  More information:; (757) 464-1004  (Virginia Beach); e-mail:

May 11-13, 2018, Konnarock: Mount Rogers Spring Naturalist Rally.  Organized by the Blue Ridge Discovery Center.  Events include a featured speaker, field trips, and nighttime programs.  More information:

May 22-24, 2018, Longwood University, Farmville: 2018 Virginia Junior Academy of Science Research Symposium.  More information:

May 23-25, 2018, Longwood University, Farmville: Spring Meeting of the Virginia Academy of Science.  More information:; (804) 864-1450; e-mail:

Jun. 1-3, 2018, statewide: Free Fishing Days.  Organized by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  No state fishing license needed during this period, except when fishing on stocked trout waters.  More information:

Jun. 1-3, 2018, Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, Appomattox: Women’s Outdoor Weekend (for ages 10 and up).  Organized by Virginia Cooperative Extension.  More information:; phone (434) 248-5444; e-mail:

Jun. 2, 2018: Annual Potomac River Swim for the Environment.  Swimmers dive into the Potomac at Hull Neck in Northumberland County, Virginia, and swim 7.5 miles to Point Lookout State Park in Maryland.  Participants raise funds for the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, the Southern Maryland Sierra Club, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Potomac River Association, the Potomac River Conservancy, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and the St. Mary’s Watershed Association.  More information:

June 16-23, 2018, on the James River, starting at Percival’s Island in Lynchburg: 33rd Annual James River Batteau Festival.  Organized by the Virginia Canals and Navigation Society.  More information:

Sep. 1-Oct. 31, 2018, statewide: Virginia Waterways Cleanup.  Organized by Clean Virginia Waterways at Longwood University.  This is a series of local beach, bay, river, stream, lake, and pond cleanups across the state.  2018 is the 24th year that the organization has coordinated the Virginia cleanup as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by the Ocean Conservancy.  More information:; (434) 395-2602 or

Sep. 15, 2018, Virginia Beach: Elizabeth River RIVERFest.  Organized by the Elizabeth River Project. More information:; or contact Susan Smith at (757) 399-7487 or

Oct. 9-14, 2018, on the Chesapeake Bay between Baltimore, Md., and Portsmouth Virginia: Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.  More information:; phone (757) 393-2220; e-mail:

Oct. 18, 2018, 10:18 a.m., across the southeastern United States: Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake drill.  Organized by several partners, including the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.  More information:; or e-mail:


Boating Safety Classes by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Nutrient Management Training

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/State Parks Events

Virginia Department of Emergency Management Training Events (including for floods, hazardous material, and other water-related emergencies)

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Training for Stormwater Management and Erosion/Sediment Control

Virginia Department of Health Listing of Training Resources for Onsite Sewage Professionals

Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program Events

Virginia Green (Virginia Tourism Corporation site for “green” vacations and activities)

Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

Virginia Master Naturalists

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Sea Grant’s Links to Marine-education Opportunities for K-12 Teachers (click on “Professional Development”)

Virginia Water Environment Association

American Water Resources Association-National Capital Region Section

U.S. EPA Watershed Academy Webcast Seminars

Wetlands Education and Training Opportunities from Environmental Concern (non-profit in St. Michaels, Md.; opportunities for professionals and educators).

On Virginia Water Radio for 4-9-18: Spotted Lanternfly

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of April 9, 2018, is “Spotting the Spotted Lanternfly in 2018 Means a New Invasive Insect on Virginia Trees.”  The 4 min./27 sec. episode, available online at, is an introduction to a non-native insect pest of fruit trees and other trees which was first detected in Virginia in January 2018.  The episode features an interview with Eric Day of the Virginia Tech Insect ID Lab.

415 Image 2
Spotted Lanternfly immature stages. Photo courtesy of Eric Day, Virginia Tech Insect ID Lab, Blacksburg, Va., accessed online

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 Status Report as of the End of March 2018, 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 March 2018.  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. (  For previous monthly water status reports, please see this link:

01 Icon Precip

Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary (still needing verification) precipitation totals for March 2018 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.  The values are in inches.

Location March 2018 Observed Monthly Normal April 2017-

March 2018 Observed

Annual Normal
Blacksburg 4.66 3.64 42.90 40.89
Bluefield1 4.69 3.51 42.23 39.63
Bristol2 4.41 3.44 47.00 41.01
Charlottesville3 1.81 3.66 36.18 42.71
Danville* 3.55 4.11 43.78 44.41
Lynchburg 3.07 3.58 37.61 41.57
Norfolk 3.88 3.68 48.60 46.53
Richmond 2.33 4.04 37.06 43.60
Roanoke 3.38 3.46 40.06 41.25
Wallops Island4 3.52 4.00 48.02 40.84
Washington-Dulles Airport5 1.79 3.38 41.28 41.54

*NWS reported nine days of data missing at Danville in January 2018.

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. (;
Morristown, Tenn. (;
Baltimore-Washington (; and
Wakefield, Va. (

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

For graphs of precipitation, visit the High Plains Regional Climate Center at, where you can find maps of total precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the past 7, 30, 60, or 90 days for all U.S. regions; or the NWS’ Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at 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 preliminary maps of the percent-of-normal precipitation for the southeastern United States for the previous 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days, through April 1, 2018.


02 Icon Streamflow

According to the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at, monthly average stream flow values for March 2018 at 163 stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border were as follows, compared to the historical range for each given gage:

within the normal historical range – about 39% of gages;
below normal – about 28%;
much below normal – about 32%;
above normal – about 1%.

Shown below is the color-coded, flow-percentile map for this period, accessed at the Web site given in the paragraph above.  The chart below the map shows the color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compared flows to historical records for the month.

Streams map March 2018 KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

An overall look at Virginia streamflow conditions is provided in the USGS WaterWatch summary plot of daily average streamflow conditions, compared to historical records for any given date.  Below is the summary plot for 88 Virginia sites during the 45-day period ending March 31, 2018, accessed on April 2, 2018, at

Streams plot

Information on current groundwater levels in Virginia monitoring wells is available from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Information System, online at; and from the USGS Climate Response Network, online at (at that page, you can find a national map showing the status of groundwater monitoring wells compared to historical values).


The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln ( for March 27, 2018, categorized about 54.6% of Virginia as “abnormally dry” or worse (covering essentially all of the Piedmont and the northern Coastal Plain) and about 9.0% in “moderate drought” (covering parts of northern Virginia and of Southside).

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:
2/27/18 – 59.7% abnormally dry or worse; 12.3% moderate drought;
1/30/18 – 97.9% abnormally dry or worse; 48.6% moderate drought or worse; 2.9% severe drought;
12/26/17 – 97.4% abnormally dry or worse; 42.9% moderate drought;
3/28/17 – 61.0% abnormally dry or worse; 41.0% moderate drought or worse; 2.2% severe drought;

In early March 2018, the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF), a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent report.  A link to the report, along with other current drought-status information, is available online at  The DMTF’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 was next scheduled to meet on April 5, 2018.

The DMTF also produces a map rating drought-status indicators, also online at  Shown below is the map for April 1, 2018, followed by a map identifying the Drought Evaluation Regions used by the DMTF.  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.”

Drought VA Apr1VA Drought Evaluation Regions map


The March 27, 2018, U.S. Drought Monitor categorized about 44.5% of the United States (including all or parts of 33 states) as being abnormally dry or worse.  The Drought Monitor categorized about 13.7% of the country (including parts of 13 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 (categories D0-D4) and severe or worse (categories D2-D4) in the previous three months and one year ago were as follows:
2/27/18 – 50.0% abnormally dry or worse; 12.0% severe drought or worse;
1/30/18 – 61.9% abnormally dry or worse; 14.4% severe drought or worse;
12/26/17 – 45.8% abnormally dry or worse; 4.1% severe drought or worse;
3/28/17 – 34.9% abnormally dry or worse; 2.4% severe drought or worse.

The following states had 50% or more categorized by the March 27, 2018, Drought Monitor in severe-or-worse drought:
Arizona – 89%;
Kansas – 56%;
New Mexico – 78%;
Utah – 57%.


For a look ahead, the National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center’s “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook” is available at  Shown below is the outlook map available on April 2, 2018.
Drought outlook Mar15


On Virginia Water Radio for 4-2-18: An Overview of Water-quality Monitoring from Three Perspectives

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of April 2, 2018, is “Water-quality Monitoring from a Trio of Perspectives.”  The 4 min./26 sec. episode, available online at, is an introduction to biological, chemical, and physical monitoring.  The episode was written and is hosted by Saalehah Habeebah, the spring 2018 intern at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.

INSECTS - Caddisfly stone cases CLOSEUP New River Eggleston Aug31 2014 USED Radio 4-10-17 and 4-2-18 GROUPER 4-2-18
And here’s a quiz: what kind of water-quality monitoring uses aquatic insects, such as these caddisflies in the New River near Eggleston, Va., on August 31, 2014?

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!