Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS Wakefield, VA
FGUS71 KAKQ 062132
WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAKEFIELD VA
432 PM EST Fri Jan 6 2017
...First winter/spring flood outlook for 2017...
...River Flood Potential is near normal through January 19th...
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 Friday
January 6 2017:
Current Flooding - No rivers are currently in flood as of 2 PM
Friday January 6 2017.
Recent precipitation - Over the last 30 days, from December 7 2016
- January 6 2017, rainfall totals across the HSA have ranged from
2 - 4 inches across the HSA. These totals range from 1 inch above
normal to as much as 1.5 inches below normal.
Looking at precipitation totals at longer time steps...The 60 day
time frame from November 7 TO January 6 shows precipitation totals
ranged from 4 - 10 inches. These values range from 1 - 4 inches
below normal. For the current water year from October 1 2016 to
January 6 2017 the area is divided with portions of Southeast
Virginia 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 10 inches above normal, while the other areas was
on the negative side with totals ranging from near normal to as
much as 4 inches below normal.
Snow Conditions - There is currently no snow on the ground across
the HSA as of 2 PM Friday January 6th.
River ice conditions - There is currently no snow on the ground
across the HSA as of 2 PM Friday January 6th.
Stream flow conditions - The 14 day average stream flows, through
January 6th, were mainly in the normal range with just a small
portion of Chowan Basin showing below normal flows.
When looking at the real time flows as of 8 AM January
6th, the river levels are mainly the 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 as of 8 AM
Location Observed Level/Median Flow/Percentage of Median
Palmyra VA 388 CFS/ 590 CFS/ 65.8
Cartersville VA 11000 CFS/6290 CFS/174.9
Richmond VA 9560 CFS/6140 CFS/155.7
Mattoax VA 266 CFS/ 315 CFS/ 84.4
Matoaca VA 2580 CFS/ 1040 CFS/248.1
Rawlings VA 292 CFS/ 234 CFS/ 124.8
Stony Creek VA 569 CFS/ 480 CFS/ 118.5
Sebrell VA 2010 CFS/ 1450 CFS/ 138.6
Lawrenceville VA 484 CFS/ 372 CFS/ 130.1
Emporia VA 659 CFS/ 581 CFS/ 113.4
Franklin VA 833 CFS/ 729 CFS/ 114.3
Bowling Green VA 649 CFS/ 223 CFS/ 291.0
Beulahville VA 957 CFS/ 611 CFS/ 156.6
Willards MD 81 CFS/ 72 CFS/ 112.5
Union NC 349 CFS/ 238 CFS/ 146.6
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 December 31st, 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.
The remainder of the area is shown in the normal range for this
time of year.
Ground Water - Variable Levels.
Ground water levels across the HSA are variable with the ground
water in Northeastern North Carolina showing above normal water
levels for January. Meanwhile the ground water levels in Virginia
are near normal except for a couple gages that are showing values
that are reporting below normal levels. However, most of the
Virginia gages are waiting to begin the ground water recharge that
is common this time of the year. Across the Lower Maryland Eastern
Shore, the ground water gages showed ground water levels in the
Reservoirs - Normal Pool Levels
Area reservoir pool levels are in the normal range for this time
Future Precipitation...A storm approaching the area tonight into
Saturday the 7th will provide snow for much of the forecast area
with the highest amounts over Southeastern VA. Overall expect 0.50
to 1 inch of water with the snow. The next chance for
precipitation does not come until the middle of next week when a
cold front crosses the area, but rain amounts should be light with
The latest CPC 8 TO 14 DAY Outlook is indicating a warmer than
normal period with the precipitation expected to be near normal
for this time of year.
Lastly for the 3 month outlook for January through March, the
precipitation has an equal chance of being above normal, near
normal or below normal. Temperatures have a higher chance of being
The river flood potential outlook through January 19 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 January 19 2017, unless
conditions warrant an additional update.
For additional weather or hydrologic information, please visit our
website at WWW.WEATHER.GOV/AKQ.