1997 Weather Review
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERIVCE WAKEFIELD VA
230 PM EST WED JAN 9 1998


              ...THE YEAR IN REVIEW: WEATHER 1997...

OVER THE MIDDLE ATLANTIC REGION THE YEAR OF 1997 WILL GO DOWN IN THE 
HISTORY BOOKS A YEAR THAT HAD A WARM NEARLY SNOWLESS WINTER...A COOL 
SPRING...A SERIOUS AND PROLONGED DROUGHT THRU THE SUMMER AND EARLY 
FALL...AND THE ARRIVAL OF SIGNIFICANT AUTUMN RAINS THAT WERE POSSIBLY 
ENHANCED BY THE MUCH PUBLICIZED "EL NINO" AS THE YEAR ENDED.



                 MONTHLY STATISTICS - MEAN TEMPERATURE
          ================================================
         NORFOLK/DEVIATION   RICHMOND/DEVIATION  SALISBURY/DEVIATION 
MONTH            (NUMBERS ARE IN DEGREES FARENHEIT)

JANUARY     41.3/+2.2           37.7/+2.0          37.1/-0.4
FEBRUARY    46.0/+5.0           43.7/+5.0          43.4/+4.4
MARCH       51.5/+2.9           49.6/+1.6          47.5/+1.6
APRIL       54.6/-2.4           53.6/-3.7          51.0/-4.9
MAY         64.0/-2.1           62.9/-3.1          60.9/-4.4
JUNE        72.0/-2.1           71.4/-2.5          70.5/-2.7
JULY        79.1/-0.9           77.8/-0.2          77.8/+0.5
AUGUST      75.8/-1.0           76.4/-0.8          74.2/-1.5
SEPTEMBER   70.3/+0.3           72.0/+0.1          69.3/-0.5
OCTOBER     58.9/+0.3           62.1/+0.9          58.8/-0.8
NOVEMBER    46.4/-3.2           50.3/-2.2          48.9/-0.7
DECEMBER    39.9/-0.2           42.8/-1.0          40.9/+1.6


                 MONTHLY STATISTICS - PRECIPITATION
          ================================================
         NORFOLK/DEVIATION   RICHMOND/DEVIATION SALISBURY/DEVIATION 
MONTH            (RAINFALL AMOUNTS ARE IN INCHES)

JANUARY     2.09"/-1.69"       1.93"/-1.31"       2.31"/-1.02"
FEBRUARY    2.94"/-0.53"       3.71"/+0.55"       3.91"/+0.66"
MARCH       3.21"/-0.49"       2.94"/-0.65"       7.72"/+3.60"
APRIL       3.01"/-0.05"       3.94"/+0.98"       3.76"/+0.55"
MAY         1.66"/-2.15"       1.36"/-2.48"       2.01"/-1.17"
JUNE        1.20"/-2.72"       2.21"/-1.41"       1.67"/-1.78"
JULY        7.85"/+2.79"       4.85"/-0.18"       5.44"/+1.55"
AUGUST      1.76"/-3.05"       1.41"/-2.99"       2.28"/-3.23" 
SEPTEMBER   1.97"/-1.93"       0.82"/-2.52"       0.87"/-2.83"
OCTOBER     4.31"/+1.16"       3.25"/+0.28"       3.77"/-0.58"
NOVEMBER    4.94"/+2.09"       5.33"/+2.16"       7.04"/-3.95"
DECEMBER    2.65"/-0.58"       2.36"/-0.90"       3.18"/-0.31"

                    ...WINTER OF 1996-97...

JANUARY...WAS A MILD AND NEARLY SNOWLESS MONTH ACROSS CENTRAL AND 
EASTERN VIRGINIA AND THE LOWER MARYLAND EASTERN SHORE. THE FIRST 
WEEK HAD SEVERAL MAX TEMPERATURE READINGS IN THE 60S AND 70S. ON THE 
5TH A MEAN DAILY TEMPERATURE OF 62 AT NORFOLK AND 61 AT RICHMOND 
OCCURRED WHICH WAS ONE OF THE WARMEST DAYS EVER RECORDED IN THE MONTH 
OF JANAURY. TEMPERATURES COOLED DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE MONTH WITH 
SALISBURY AND RICHMOND REPORTING AN INCH OF SNOW.

FEBRUARY...WAS A WARM MONTH. IT WAS THE 17TH WARMEST FEBRUARY AT 
RICHMOND AND THE 20TH WARMEST AT NORFOLK. THERE WERE NO DAYS WITH
MAX TEMPERATURES STAYING BELOW 32 DEGREES AT NORFOLK...RICHMOND... 
OR SALISBURY. TYPICALLY NORFOLK AVERAGES AT LEAST ONE OF THESE COLDER 
DAYS...RICHMOND TWO...AND SALISBURY SEVEN. ALTHOUGH PRECIPITATION WAS 
NEAR NORMAL...THERE WAS NO SNOWFALL REPORTED FOR THE MONTH.


                      ...SPRING 1997...

MARCH...WAS ANOTHER MILD MONTH. NORFOLK REPORTED SIX DAYS WITH MAX 
TEMPERATURES OF 70 DEGREES OR HIGHER...WHILE RICHMOND REPORTED SEVEN 
SUCH DAYS AND SALISBURY HAD FIVE. TYPICALLY...NORFOLK HAS SIX DAYS WITH 
MINIMUM OF 32 DEGREE OR LOWER DURING MARCH...RICHMOND ELEVEN AND 
SALISBURY FOURTEEN. HOWEVER...IN MARCH 1997 NORFOLK REPORTED NO DAYS 
WHEN THE LOW TEMPERATURE DROPPED BELOW 32 WHILE RICHMOND REPORTED 
ONLY SEVEN AND SALISBURY TEN.


APRIL...WAS THE FIRST SIGNIFICANTLY COOLER THAN NORMAL MONTH ACROSS 
THE AREA SINCE NOVEMBER 1996. NORFOLK REPORTED ELEVEN DAYS WITH MAX 
TEMPERATURES OF SIXTY DEGREES OR COOLER...RICHMOND AND SALISBURY EACH 
REPORTED NINE SUCH DAYS. EVEN THOUGH RAINFALL WAS SLIGHTLY ABOVE 
NORMAL...THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY WAS SOMEWHAT BELOW NORMAL. NORFOLK 
AVERAGES THREE DAYS WITH THUNDERSTORMS IN APRIL BUT HAD ONLY TWO DAYS 
WHILE RICHMOND AND SALISBURY AVERAGE THEE AND FOUR DAYS RESPECTIVELY 
BUT REPORTED NO DAYS WITH THUNDERSTORMS.

MAY...THE LACK OF THUNDERSTORM ACTVITY AND SEVERE WEATHER WAS QUICKLY 
REVERSED WHEN A SERIES OF POWERFUL THUNDERSTORMS ROCKED EASTERN 
VIRGINIA AND THE DELMARVA REGION ON THE 1ST. THESE STORMS PRODUCED 
THE LARGEST HAIL OUTBREAK IN NEARLY THIRTY YEARS WITH THE HAIL RANGING 
IN SIZE FROM QUARTER TO BASEBALL SIZE...WHICH FELL OVER SEVERAL 
SECTIONS OF HAMPTON ROADS. DESPITE THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY
...MAY WAS A VERY DRY MONTH SIGNIFYING THE START OF THE DROUGHT OF 
'97. NORFOLK REPORTED NO DAYS WITH RAINFALL OF A HALF INCH OR GREATER 
AFTER MAY 1ST WHILE RICHMOND HAD SIMILAR CONDITIONS AFTER MAY 3RD. 
MAY WAS ALSO A COOL MONTH WITH RICHMOND REPORTING A LOW TEMPERATURE 
FOR THE MONTH OF FORTY DEGREES ON THE 17TH AND SALISBURY REPORTING 
TEMPERATURES OF FORTY DEGRES OR LOWER ON THE 8TH...14TH...17TH... 
23RD...28TH...AND THE 29TH.


                    ...SUMMER OF 1997...
  
JUNE...THE FIRST WEEK WAS VERY CHILLY ACROSS THE ENTIRE REGION. A 
STALLED COLD FRONT ALONG THE COAST KEPT SKIES CLOUDY WITH EASTERLY 
WINDS. AT NORFOLK MAX TEMPERATURES DID NOT BREAK THE 65 DEGREE MARK 
FROM THE 3RD THRU THE 9TH. A RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE OF 51 DEGREES 
OCCURRED ON THE 10TH AT NORFOLK WHICH WAS THE LOWEST TEMPERATURE EVER
FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE. ON THE 3RD NORFOLK SET A RECORD LOW DAILY 
MEAN TEMPERATURE OF 57. RICHMOND DROPPED TO 46 DEGREES ON THE 5TH 
WITH MIN TEMPERATURES BELOW FIFTY DEGREES OCCURRING ON THE 4TH...6TH
...8TH...AND THE 9TH. DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF JUNE SALISBURY HAD 
FIVE DAYS WITH MAX TEMPERATURES BELOW SIXTY FIVE. THE COOL WEATHER 
PATTERN CHANGED BY MID MONTH AS ALL OF NORFOLK/S NINETY PLUS DEGREE 
DAYS OCCURRED AFTER THE SIXTEENTH WHILE ALL EIGHT OF RICHMOND/S 
NINETY DEGREE DAYS OCCURRED FROM THE 20TH THROUGH THE 27TH AND 
SALISBURY FROM THE 20TH TO THE 26TH. RAINFALL CONTINUED TO AVERAGE 
WELL BELOW NORMAL WITH NORFOLK NEARLY THREE INCHES BELOW THE MEAN BY 
THE 30TH.

JULY...SAW DROUGHT CONDITIONS WORSEN ESPECIALLY ACROSS HAMPTON ROADS.
BY MID MONTH NORFOLK WAS MORE THAN TEN INCHES BELOW THE YEARLY AVERAGE 
RAINFALL TOTALS WHILE RICHMOND AND SALISBURY RAINFALL DEFICIT WAS 
RUNNING ABOUT HALF THAT. ON THE 21ST A STALLED COLD FRONT OVER THE 
COAST BROUGHT IN HEAVY SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS THE ENTIRE AREA 
AND HELPED TO PULL TROPICAL DEPRESSION DANNY TOWARDS HAMPTON ROADS. 
DANNY BEGAN TO RE-INTENSIFY OVER EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA AS IT BROUGHT IN 
HEAVY RAINS AND WINDS GUSTING TO FIFTY MPH. FROM THE 21ST THRU THE 
24TH...NORFOLK RECEIVED FIVE AND HALF INCHES OF RAIN...RICHMOND MORE 
THAN THREE AND HALF...AND SALISBURY NEARLY FOUR INCHES. SEVERAL 
WATERSPOUTS AND TORNADOES DEVELOPED OVER THE TIDEWATER AND HAMPTON 
ROADS HARBOR AS DANNY PASSED THRU NORTHEAST NORTH CAROLINA. THIS WAS
THE ONLY SUBSTAINTAL RAINFALL EVENT UNTIL THE MIDDLE OF OCTOBER AND 
SAVED MUCH OF EASTERN VIRGINIA FROM GOING INTO RECORD DROUGHT 
CONDITIONS.

AUGUST...WAS A AVERAGE MONTH TEMPERATURE WISE ACROSS THE REGION BUT THE 
DROUGHT CONTINUED AND WORSEN. BY THE 31ST THE MONTHLY RAINFALL DEFICIT 
AT RICHMOND...NORFOLK...AND SALISBURY RAINFALL WAS THREE OR MORE INCHES 
BELOW NORMAL. BOTH RICHMOND AND NORFOLK TYPICALLY AVERAGE TEN DAYS IN 
AUGUST WITH MORE THAN A TRACE OF RAINFALL BUT BOTH LOCATIONS HAD ONLY 
FIVE DAYS OF RAIN. FROM AUGUST 21ST TO SEPTEMBER 8TH...NINETEEN 
DAYS...NO RAIN FELL AT RICHMOND. FROM AUGUST 21ST TO THE 31ST...TEN 
DAYS...NO RAIN FELL AT NORFOLK.

                        ...AUTUMN 1997...

SEPTEMBER...CONTINUED TO SEE DROUGHT CONDITIONS ACROSS THE REGION. 
NORFOLK HAD ONLY TWO THUNDERSTORMS DAYS AND ONLY SIX DAYS WITH RAIN 
THAT WAS MORE THAN A TRACE AMOUNT. RICHMOND ONLY HAD ONE DAY IN 
SEPTEMBER WITH RAINFALL THAT WAS A QUARTER OF AN INCH OR GREATER WHILE
SALISBURY WENT SIXTEEN DAYS NO MEASUREABLE RAINFALL OF ANY KIND.
ANAOTHER FACTOR THAT ENHANCED THE DROUGHT WAS THE COMPLETE LACK OF ANY 
TROPICAL ACTIVITY IN THE GULF OF MEXICO...CARIBBEAN...OR THE ATLANTIC.
MANY AREAS IN EASTERN VIRGINIA WERE DECLARED DISASTER AREAS.

OCTOBER...FROM THE 1ST THROUGH THE 14TH NO MEASUREABLE RAINFALL FELL
AT NORFOLK...RICHMOND...AND SALISBURY FROM 1ST TO THE 14TH. CONSIDERING
THAT OCTOBER TYPICALLY IS THE DRIEST MONTH OF THE YEAR THE LACK OF 
RAINFALL IS NOT SURPISING. HOWEVER...THE YEARLY RAINFALL DEFICIT 
APPROACHED TWELEVE INCHES IN HAMPTON ROADS AND TEN INCHES IN CENTRAL 
VIRGINIA...AS THE DROUGHT APPROACHED SEVERE LEVEL. SUDDENLY THE WEATHER 
PATTERNS CHANGED AS A SERIES OF RAIN EVENTS MOVED THROUGH. FROM THE 
15TH THROUGH THE 31ST ALL OF OCTOBER/S RAINFALL OCCURRED WITH NORFOLK 
RECEIVING MORE THAN FOUR INCHES...RICHMOND MORE THAN THREE INCHES...
AND SALISBURY THREE AND THREE-QUARTERS. A WIDEPSREAD AND RATHER EARLY 
HARD FREEZE ENDED THE GROWING SEASON OVER INTERIOR PORTIONS OF 
CENTRAL VIRGINIA ON THE 23RD.

NOVEMBER...SAW A CONTINUATION OF THE FREQUENT RAINY PERIODS AS THE 
SUB TROPICAL JET...ENHANCED BY THE STRONG EL NINO...BROUGHT IN 
SEVERAL LARGE SCALE RAIN EVENTS. RAIN OCCURRED ON EVERY WEEKEND FROM 
OCTOBER 19TH AND 20TH THRU NOVEMBER 29TH AND 30TH. BY THE END OF THE 
MONTH...THE YEARLY RAINFALL DEFICIT WAS LOWERED BY FORTY PERCENT AT 
NORFOLK AND RICHMOND. THE PERSISENT RAINY WEATHER PATTERN ALSO KEPT 
TEMPERATURES ON THE CHILLY SIDE. 

DECEMBER...SEEMED TO OFFER A PROMISING PREVIEW TO THE WINTER OF 1998 
AS IT WAS A COLD MONTH AND SNOWFALL OCCURRED OVER MUCH OF THE REGION. 
PRECIPITATION WAS NEARLY NORMAL. CHISTMAS WAS A WARM SUNNY DAY OVER 
THE ENTIRE WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE UPPER 50S AND 60S. BUT BY THE 27TH 
A STORM MOVING OFF THE COAST BROUGHT A COLD RAIN THAT ENDED AS SEVERAL
HOURS OF SNOW THAT ACCUMULATED ONE TO THREE INCHES OVER THE INTERIOR
PORTIONS OF VIRGINIA AND TRACE AMOUNTS ON THE COAST. THE YEAR ENDED 
WITH A NOREASTER THAT BROUGHT MOSTLY RAIN EAST OF I-95. 

Dave Tolleris - NWSO Wakefield, VA