Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS Wakefield, VA
FGUS71 KAKQ 192126
WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAKEFIELD VA
426 PM EST Thu Jan 19 2017
...Second winter/spring flood outlook for 2017...
...River Flood Potential is near normal through February 2nd...
Each winter and early spring, The National Weather Service office
in Wakefield VA issues a series of flood potential outlooks.
These outlooks estimate the potential for river flooding across
the Wakefield forecast office`s Hydrologic service area (HSA).
The HSA includes Central and Eastern Virginia, the Lower Maryland
Eastern Shore, and portions of Northeast North Carolina. The
outlook is based on the current assessment of hydrometeorological
factors which contribute to river flooding. These factors include,
but are not limited too recent precipitation, soil moisture, snow
cover and snow water equivalent, stream flows, river ice and
expected future weather conditions.
In this part of the Mid-Atlantic Region, heavy rainfall is the
primary factor that leads to river flooding. Heavy rainfall can
rapidly cause river flooding at anytime of the year, even when
overall river flood potential is considered low.
The following is a summary of the current conditions as of Thursday
January 19 2017:
Current Flooding - No rivers are currently in flood as of 3 PM
Thursday January 19 2017.
Recent precipitation - Over the last 30 days, from December 21
2016 - January 19 2017, rainfall totals across the HSA have ranged
from 2 - 4.5 inches across the HSA. These totals range from near
normal to as much as 2 inches below normal.
Looking at precipitation totals at longer time steps...The 60 day
time frame from November 21 TO January 19 shows precipitation
totals ranged from 3 - 8 inches. These values range from near
normal to 4 inches below normal. For the current water year from
October 1 2016 to January 19 2017 the area is divided with
portions of Southeast Virginia, coastal parts of the Delmarva and
Northeastern North Carolina reporting 10 - 20 inches of rain
while the remainder of the HSA saw much less rain with only 5 - 10
inches. The totals in Southern VA and Northeastern NC were as
much as 8 inches above normal, while the other areas was on the
negative side with totals ranging from near normal to as much as 5
inches below normal.
Snow Conditions - There is currently no snow on the ground across
the HSA as of 3 PM Friday January 19th.
River ice conditions - There is currently no snow on the ground
across the HSA as of 3 PM Friday January 19th.
Stream flow conditions - The 14 day average stream flows, through
January 19th, were mainly in the normal range with just one gage
in the Western Appomattox basin reporting below normal flow.
When looking at the real time flows as of 3 PM January
19th, the river levels are mainly the normal to below normal
range for this time of year with a few gages showing values that
were above normal across central VA. Here are some real time
stream flows between 1 and 3 PM January 19th:
Location Observed Level/Median Flow/Percentage of Median
Palmyra VA 241 CFS/ 616 CFS/ 39.1
Cartersville VA 7360 CFS/6210 CFS/118.5
Richmond VA 6210 CFS/6440 CFS/ 96.4
Mattoax VA 401 CFS/ 613 CFS/ 65.4
Matoaca VA 695 CFS/ 1200 CFS/ 57.9
Rawlings VA 162 CFS/ 258 CFS/ 62.8
Stony Creek VA 276 CFS/ 508 CFS/ 54.3
Sebrell VA 921 CFS/ 1430 CFS/ 64.4
Lawrenceville VA 270 CFS/ 400 CFS/ 67.5
Emporia VA 313 CFS/ 576 CFS/ 54.3
Franklin VA 660 CFS/ 854 CFS/ 77.3
Bowling Green VA 166 CFS/ 253 CFS/ 65.6
Beulahville VA 422 CFS/ 700 CFS/ 60.3
Willards MD 76 CFS/ 77 CFS/ 98.7
Union NC 222 CFS/ 263 CFS/ 84.4
Soil Moisture Conditions - NEAR NORMAL TO ABOVE NORMAL.
Soil moisture indicators including the Palmer Drought
Severity Index, which is used to infer deep soil moisture, shows
that, as of January 14th, Central and Eastern Virginia were
depicted as being near normal for deep soil moisture. However, the
deep soil moisture across Northeastern North Carolina and the
Lower Maryland Eastern shore are marked as unusually moist.
The CPC Soil Moisture Monitor, which looks more at top soil
moisture, shows a moisture surplus of 20 - 60 MM is shown for
portions of Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina
through January 18th. The remainder of the area is shown in the
normal range for this time of year.
Ground Water - Normal to Above Normal Levels.
Ground water levels across the HSA are have improved with all
gages showing normal to above normal ground water levels across
the region. Also when looking at the daily traces, the graphs show
water levels on the rise, likely from the melting snow that
occurred last week. This is also signaling the beginning of the
recharge period, assuming that rainfall is consistent over the
next few weeks.
Reservoirs - Normal Pool Levels
Area reservoir pool levels are in the normal range for this time
Future Precipitation...There are several chances for rain over the
next week as temperatures should be normal to above normal through
January 26th. A warm front passes the region on Friday and light
rain up to about 0.25" is expected. A much stronger low will track
through the Southern U.S. on Sunday and off the Carolina coast on
Monday bringing significant rain to the area. Another front will
cross the area on Wednesday night or Thursday, but moisture is
limited so rainfall should be minimal. Overall for the next 7 days
through January 26, widespread rain amounts of 2" - 3" are
The latest CPC 8 TO 14 DAY Outlook is indicating a near normal
period with respect to temperature with precipitation expected to
be below normal for this time of year.
Lastly for the 3 month outlook for February through April, the
precipitation has a higher chance of being below normal and the
temperatures have a higher chance of being above normal.
The river flood potential outlook through February 2 2017 across
the Wakefield HSA is normal for this time of year. Again remember
that heavy rainfall is the most common cause of river flooding in
the Mid-Atlantic States. However river flooding can be exacerbated
when heavy rain is combined with snow melt.
The next outlook will be issued on February 2 2017, unless
conditions warrant an additional update.
For additional weather or hydrologic information, please visit our
website at WWW.WEATHER.GOV/AKQ.