The month of May was characterized by cooler than normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. Temperatures across much of the Blacksburg coverage area averaged 2 to 4 degrees below normal. The average precipitation for the month across the Hydrologic Service Area (HSA) of southeast West Virginia, southwest Virginia, and northwest North Carolina was 2.26 inches. This is only 51% of the normal of 4.42 inches for the area for May, which is climatologically the wettest month. Rainfall patterns were extremely variable, ranging from less than an inch (0.87Ē) at Rocky Mount VA to over 4 inches (4.28Ē) at Buckingham VA. Another relative minimum in the monthly precipitation was over southwest Virginia where only 1 to 2 inches fell across portions of Wythe, Pulaski and Montgomery counties. Shower and thunderstorm activity was sporadic in coverage and intensity during the month, with few storms capable of producing flooding. No flood reports were received for May.
Cool high pressure through the early part of the month kept severe weather at bay. The 10th saw thunderstorms firing up in the mountains, with one isolated severe thunderstorm that produced penny sized hail in Independence, Virginia. A cold front moved through on the 12th of May bringing isolated severe thunderstorms to the area, with mainly damaging winds affecting rural areas.
Another cold front swung through May 15th, and brought cooler weather back to the region after a brief warmup. Despite the lack of severe weather a cold front did bring a weak tornado to Smyth County during the early morning of the 20th.
Looking closer at individual stations in our area:
Roanoke's average temperature for the month was 62. 4 degrees, which was 1.7 degrees below normal. The warmest day was May 12th, with an average temperature of 76 degrees. The coolest day was May 2nd where the average temperature was 49. Rainfall was 2.16 inches for the month which was just over 2 inches below normal. Most of the rain fell in one day, with 1.57 inches on the 19th.
Lynchburg saw its 3rd coldest May on record, dating back to 1893. The average temperature was 60 degrees which was 3.4 degrees below normal. The warmest day was the 12th with an average temperature of 73.5 degrees. The coldest day was the 2nd with an average of 46.5 degrees. Total rainfall was 2.12 inches, which is close to 2 inches below normal.
Danville saw its 4th coldest May on record, with an average temperature of 62.5 degrees. Records in Danville date back to 1948. The warmest day was May 12th, where the average temperature was 73 degrees. The coldest day was the 6th, which had an average temperature of 50.5 degrees. Rainfall for the month totaled 2.04 inches. This is close to 2 inches below normal. This was the 5th driest May on record.
At Blacksburg, the average temperature for May was 56.9 degrees, which is 2 degrees below normal. The warmest days were the 13th and 14th with 68.5 degrees. The coldest day was the 3rd at 40.5 degrees. Rainfall totaled 1.63 inches, which makes it the 3rd driest May on record, with records dating back to 1952. Normally, Blacksburg receives 4.39 inches of precipitation in May.
At Bluefield, WV, the average temperature for May was 59.6 degrees, which is 1.7 degrees below normal. The warmest day was the 12th, with an average temperature of 70 degrees. The coldest day was the 2nd, with an average temperature of 44 degrees. Rainfall totaled 1.6 inches, which makes it the 2nd driest May on record, with records dating back to 1959. Normally, Bluefield receives 4.31 inches of precipitation in May.
The month of June saw temperatures closer to normal area wide. Southeast West Virginia and portions of the Southern Shenandoah Valley south through the New River Valley had at or above normal temperatures, while parts of the Northwest Piedmont of North Carolina were slightly below normal. Most locations were at or below normal for precipitation. Locations along and west of the Blue Ridge mountains from Alleghany County, North Carolina north to the Roanoke area received above normal rainfall. The driest area in the Blacksburg coverage area was Rockbridge and Bath Counties, who saw only 25 to 50 percent of normal rainfall. There was a wide range in rainfall amounts for the month, with the lowest being 1.01 inches at Buena Vista, VA, and the highest 7.18 inches at Blowing Rock, NC.
Although no organized storm systems affected our area in June, typical summertime thunderstorms did produce wind damage, hail and flooding on several days. June 6th saw the most severe weather, from pulse storms. Storms that day brought damaging winds to portions of northwest North Carolina, southwest Virginia, and southeast West Virginia. There was no widespread heavy rainfall or river flooding in the Blacksburg Hydrologic Service Area (HSA) in June. Thunderstorms produced some localized flash flooding and minor stream flooding at various times in the month. An isolated strong storm developed over part of eastern Roanoke city on the evening of June 6, producing nearly 2 inches of rain in less than an hour, and causing flooding along Ore Branch in Roanoke. Another cluster of strong thunderstorms in Roanoke city on the 27 th brought around 3 inches of rain in little more than an hour, and once again caused significant urban flooding along Ore Branch, with water covering several roads and intersections in the vicinity of the stream. Slow-moving thunderstorms produced flash flooding and minor stream flooding across parts of Smyth and Grayson counties in the evening hours of June 9th. The largest impacts occurred in and near Sugar Grove, where significant flooding of a trailer park and roads was reported near Cressy Creek. Rainfall in this area was estimated at nearly 3 inches on radar. On June 29 th, a stationary thunderstorm brought estimated rainfall of 3 to 4 inches in less than an hour to a portion of the Tomís Creek basin near the town of Westfield in Surry county North Carolina. This caused significant flash flooding along Tomís Creek, washing out a gravel road and causing some property damage, but no injuries.
Homing in on individual stations:
Roanoke's average temperatures were close to normal (+0.8). The low temperature average was 63.5 degrees compared to a normal of 60.4 degrees, whereas the average high temperature was 82 degrees, when normally it should be 83.3 for the month. The highest temperature during the month was 92 degrees which happened on the 14th. The lowest temperature was 55 degrees on the 2nd. It was rather wet in Roanoke in June, with the airport reporting 5.07 inches of rain. Normally, the airport received 3.68 inches during the month of June. The 27th saw the most daily rain at 1.21 inches.
At Lynchburg, temperatures also averaged out at close to normal (+0.4). The highest temperature was 91 degrees which happened on the 6th, while the lowest temperature was the next day, the 7th, when the reading was 49 degrees. Rainfall for the month was just below normal, 3.33 inches fell compared to a normal of 3.79 inches. June 9th saw the most rainfall when 1.3 inches accumulated.
Danville's average temperature was actually just cooler than normal (-1.1) for the month. Most of this attributed to cooler than normal high temperatures. The average high was 83.6 degrees, when normally it is 86.2 degrees. The warmest day was the 6th when the thermometer rose to 92 degrees. The lowest temperature was 53 degrees on the 21st. Monthly rainfall was very close to normal, just eight hundredths 0.08 inches above normal. 3.58 inches fell during the month. The greatest daily rainfall occurred on the 7th when 1.19 inches fell.
In Blacksburg, our temperatures averaged out warmer than normal (+1.4). The highest temperature during the month occurred on the 14th with a reading of 87 degrees. The coolest temperature was 48 degrees on the 18th. Rainfall for the month was above normal, by 0.37 inches. The total was 4.3 inches. The highest daily rainfall was 1.16 inches which occurred on the 9th.
At Bluefield, West Virginia, temperatures averaged above normal (+2.9). Both high and low temperatures were above normal. The warmest temperature happened on the 30th when the thermometer reading shot to 89 degrees. The coolest temperature was 51 degrees on the 2nd. Monthly rainfall was close to normal, 3.92 inches fell compared to the normal of 3.85 inches. 1.14 inches of that fell during the 27th.
July was warmer than normal across much of the area. The mountains of North Carolina...north through Southeast West Virginia saw the warmest averages, 2-4 degrees above normal. Roanoke had low temperatures at or above 70 degrees for 12 straight days. This broke the old record of 10 straight days set back in 1999, from late June through early July.
Rainfall during the month was well above normal, across the mountains, thanks to tropical remnants. Locations along the Blue Ridge and just east from Floyd and Patrick County south into the foothills of North Carolina experienced 200 to 300 percent of normal rainfall. Other locations that received at least 150 percent of normal rainfall include the North Carolina mountains, portions of southeast West Virginia, and the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia. Total rainfall for the month ranged from a low of 2.73 inches at Brownsburg VA, to 12.18 inches at Meadows of Dan VA. Monthly rainfall was heaviest in a wide band from Wilkes County, NC northeast through Patrick County, VA with 6 to 10 inches of rain observed in this area. 4 to 6 inches fell across most of the remainder of the area. A small sliver of below normal rainfall occurred in the Virginia piedmont and foothills from near Lynchburg northward to Brwonsburg.
The tropics were active, and the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy brought severe weather and flooding to portions of the area. During the afternoon of the 7th, tornadoes spun up across Yadkin County North Carolina and Patrick County Virginia courtesy of Cindy. Thankfully no injuries or deaths occurred. The extent of the damage to Yadkin County was roof damage and an outbuilding blown off its foundation. In Patrick County, trees were downed and a mobile home was shifted off its foundation, 3 miles northwest of Ararat. Despite a somewhat favorable track for heavy rain from Cindy, there was little upslope enhancement of precipitation across the higher terrain of the area. Instead, numerous storms formed in the vicinity of a boundary over the northwest piedmont of North Carolina and produced the scattered tornadoes mentioned above and pockets of heavy rain. Basin-wide rainfall across the Dan River basin was close to 2.5 inches and led to minor flooding along the river from Danville to South Boston. The highest 24-hour rainfall total occurred at Keysville in Charlotte County at 5.50 inches. Several stations in North Carolina reached 3 inches or more including King, 3.30 inches; Laurel Spring, 3.23 inches; Danville 3.12 inches; and Wilbar, 3.01 inches. No reports of significant flash flooding were received. Minor flooding was reported around Danville as the storms moved through that area. Minor flooding was also reported from parts of Yadkin and Stokes counties.
Like June, severe thunderstorms were of the pulse variety, with microbursts and hail the main severe weather features. Two microburst events stand out in July. One microburst took a roof off an old hotel and deposited the debris 200 yards away in the town of Fries, in Grayson County Virginia during the afternoon of the 15th. Even more impressive were a series of microbursts across Rockbridge County Virginia during the afternoon of the 28th. The strongest of these microbursts produced estimated winds of 100 mph near the town of Collierstown. Trees were felled or snapped off, with some roof damage to one home. Luckily, this microburst occurred in a highly rural area, and no one was injured.
Any heavy rain or flooding the rest of the month after the remnants of Cindy passed were isolated. With the remains of Hurricane Dennis mired over the mid-Mississippi Valley and lower Ohio Valley area, the area remained in a moist south to southwest flow for the period from about July 10th to the 17th. Scattered showers and thunderstorms formed primarily over the southernmost portions of the area on July 11th, with a few locations receiving in excess of an inch of rain. A line of scattered showers and thunderstorms moved across the area on the afternoon of July 12th producing pockets of brief heavy rain but no significant flooding. More showers and scattered storms formed on the afternoon and evening of July 13th. Rainfall was heaviest over the far northeast part of Blacksburg's Hydrologic Service Area with radar estimates of 3 to 4 inches over a small portion of Amherst County. The highest rain gage amounts were at Williamsville, 1.80 inches; Yost IFLOWS, 1.50 inches and Pedlar Dam, 1.40 inches. More scattered showers with isolated heavy rainfall on July 14th produced 24-hour rains of 2.20 inches at Blackwater in Franklin County; 1.70 inches at Busted Rock IFLOWS in Patrick County, and another 1.70 inches to Pedlar Dam in Amherst. Scattered thunderstorms on the 15 th produced very heavy rainfall to a few locations. Watauga County, NC had the highest amounts with Blackburn Knob at 3.99 inches and Triplett at 3.09 inches in 24 hours. Bethel and Jones Knob in Grayson County, VA had 2.66 inches and 2.13 inches, respectively. July 16th was another active day of scattered storms with heavy downpours. Dismal IFLOWS in Giles received 3.30 inches over several hours and flooding was reported over portions of Route 61 near Chapel. Radar estimated rainfall over parts of Floyd County reached 3 inches, but no flooding was reported during or after this event. Shower activity resumed on July 18th with isolated heavy rainfall over parts of the area. The Boone area received over 2 inches of rain, and some minor flooding was reported. The highest rainfall on the 18 th was reported from Franklin County, with 2.92 inches at the Snow Creek/Route 632 IFLOWS; other amounts included 2.30 inches at Danbury and 2.27 inches at Boone. The wet pattern continued on July 19th as far southwest Watauga County received very heavy rains. An unofficial report of 7 inches in several hours was reported from the Beech Mountain area and reports of water across roads and closures were received. Precipitation was scanty during a hot period from the 20 th through the 27 th. Heavy localized rains occurred over portions of the city of Covington on July 28th, with 3.90 inches observed at the Covington Filter Plant. July 30th saw slow-moving storms produce heavy rain over Greenbrier County WV, with flood water reported over Highway 12 in Asbury.
Now to our climate stations:
Roanoke experienced a warmer than normal average temperature, despite the average high temperature being lower than normal. The low temperatures were well above normal, 69.5 degrees actual, compared to a normal of 64.9. This gave a departure of 1.6 degrees above normal for the daily average. The warmest day was the 25th, when the temperature soared to 97 degrees. The last time the temperature reached 97 degrees was August of 2002. The lowest temperature was 63 degrees on the 24th. Not very cool considering 63 degrees is just a degree below the normal during July. As far as rainfall is concerned, the airport picked up 4.96 inches. This was close to an inch (0.96) above normal. The remnants of Cindy brought the greatest daily rainfall of 1.94 inches on the 7th.
At Lynchburg, average temperatures were 1.5 degrees above normal, again contributed more by warmer than normal lows (67.2). The average low is 63.7 degrees for the month. The 25th was the hottest day for the month when the reading shot to 96 degrees. The last time it was this warm, was August 2002. The coldest temperature was 58 degrees that occurred on the 9th. Rainfall totalled 4.31 inches, which actually came up 0.08 inches below normal. The highest daily rainfall occurred on the 7th, when Cindy's remnants swept through, with a total of 1.57 inches.
In Danville, the actual average temperature equaled the normal of 78.8 degrees. The average high temperature was about 2 degrees below normal, while the average low was about 2 degrees above normal. The 27th was the hottest in Danville when the temperature topped out at 98 degrees. The coolest temperature was 62 degrees on the 9th. Rainfall totalled 5.82 inches, which was 1.38 inches above normal. Cindys remnants dumped the highest daily rainfall of 3.12 inches on the 7th.
At Blacksburg, average temperatures were 2 degrees above normal, thanks in part to well above normal lows (+4.1). The hottest temperature occurred on the 26th with a high of 90 degrees. September of 2002 was the last time it got to 90 in Blacksburg. The coolest temperature was 55 degrees on the 9th. Rainfall totalled 5.52 inches, which was 1.35 inches above normal. Again, Cindy brought the highest daily rainfall of 1.78 inches on the 7th.
And in Bluefield, the average temperature was 3.1 degrees above normal, with a value of 74.7 degrees. The average low was over 4 degrees above normal. The warmest temperature was 90 degrees on the 26th. The last time it got this warm in Bluefield, was July of 1999. The coolest temperatures was 61 degrees on the 8th. Rainfall totalled 6.66 inches, 2.65 inches above normal. 2.27 inches of that fell on the 7th, which was the highest daily rainfall.
August was warmer than normal across the area, as much as 4 degrees above the norm in the mountains. Rainfall varied across the area, but most saw less than normal precipitation. Specifically, from the Mountain Empire of Southwest Virginia, east along the Virginia/North Carolina border, rainfall was as much as 25 to 50 percent below normal. A few locations received more than normal, such as the Highlands in Bath County, and portions of the southern Shenandoah Valley, as well as, portions of Watauga County North Carolina. Monthly totals ranged from a low of 1.00 inch at South Boston VA, to 9.08 inches at Kerrís Creek, near Lexington VA.
This month was similar to June and July with no organized severe thunderstorms, but the typical afternoon pulse storms that can bring the isolated wind damage or large hail. The 16th of August saw the most coverage of thunderstorms that produced severe weather. A weak frontal boundary stalled just north of the area with an upper disturbance working southeast into a highly unstable atmosphere. This brought 16 severe events to the Blacksburg Coverage Area. Most were wind damage reports scattered across Western Virginia into portions of Southeast West Virginia. Mainly trees were downed in this event. The end of the month saw the remnants of Hurricane Katrina pass by to our west, with scattered bands of showers and thunderstorms wrapping north across our area. A tornado watch was issued on the 30th...however, no storms produced reported tornadoes, and no wind damage occurred.
The following are some of the heaviest rainfall events in the Blacksburg Hydrologic Service Area in August. Late on August 3rd a slow-moving cell over southwest Watauga County, NC produced radar-estimates of 3 to 4 inches of rainfall in several hours near the town of Foscoe. No significant flooding was reported. A Flash Flood Warning was issued for Buckingham County, VA late on 5 August as isolated heavy rains fell near the town of Centenary, bringing a radar estimated total rainfall of 4 to 6 inches. Again, no significant flooding was reported. 2 to 2.5 inches of rain in about an hour caused minor flooding along Piney Fork and Meadow Creek in western Alleghany County, NC on the evening of August 6 th. Small Stream Flood Warnings were issued on August 9 th for portions of Yadkin County, NC and Grayson County, VA due to radar estimated rainfall of 2 to 3 inches. Minor flooding and a mudslide were reported in Grayson County.
The end of the month brought rainfall to the area from the remnants of Hurricane Katrina. The remains of Katrina passed well to the west of the area on August 30th. The center of the depression passed through western Tennessee and Kentucky. Rainfall was concentrated in scattered bands of storm cells that raced northward across the area. There was a long southwest to northeast oriented swath of widespread half inch to one inch rainfall along the Blue Ridge mountains extending from Watauga County, NC to Rockbridge County, VA. The highest point totals also occurred along the Blue Ridge, including Boone with 2.37 inches, the Blackburn Knob IFLOWS gage at 2.54 inches, Fincastle in Botetourt County VA at 2.35 inches, and Adney Gap in Franklin County VA with 1.48 inches. There was no flooding in the area from Katrina's rainfall.
As far as specific data for our climate stations:
Roanoke was 2.9 degrees warmer than normal for the month, with an average temperature of 77.6 degrees. This was the 7th warmest August on record, dating back to 1948. The warmest temperature during the month was 95 degrees on the 5th, while the coolest was 62 degrees on the 26th. Rainfall finished just under normal (-0.02 inches), with a total of 3.72 inches. The greatest 24 hour rain happened on the 16th-17th, when 1.15 inches fell.
At Lynchburg, the average temperature was 76.3 degrees, which is 2.5 degrees above normal. The hottest temperature was 94 degrees, which actually occurred 3 times during the month, on the 14th, 15th and 21st. The coolest temperature was 57 degrees on the 26th. Rainfall was 1.13 inches below the normal, with only 2.28 inches falling. The greatest 24 hour rainfall was 0.62 inches on the 30th.
In Danville, temperatures were above normal by 1.3 degrees, with a mean reading of 78.4 degrees. The warmest high temperature was 96 degrees on the 15th, while the coolest low was 55 degrees on the 26th. Rainfall was well below normal, by 2.06 inches, with only 1.48 inches falling. This is the 5th driest August on record, dating back to 1948. The 1st was the rainiest with 0.73 inches.
Blacksburg was well above normal with the average temperature of 73.2 degrees. This is 3.6 degrees above normal, and makes it the 4th warmest August on record, dating back to 1952. The average lows were the 2nd warmest on record, averaging at 63.5 degrees. The warmest temperature in August was acquired on the 5th with 91 degrees. The coolest temperature was 58 degrees on the 26th. Rainfall was close to normal, only 0.05 inches below the normal, with 3.64 inches falling. The 9th was when the highest daily rain fell, with 1.57 inches.
And in Bluefield, WV, August 2005 was the warmest on record, with an average temperature of 74.7 degrees, which is 3.9 degrees above normal. Records date back to 1959. The warmest high temperature was 89 degrees on the 4th and the 5th, while the coolest temperature was only 63 degrees, which occurred on the 1st, 28th, and 31st. Rainfall was just below normal, with 3.04 inches falling, compared to a normal of 3.20 inches. The greatest daily rainfall was 0.73 inches on the 19th.
How things change in the course of a month. Our region had been receiving at or above normal rainfall. This September was the driest month for the Blacksburg coverage area since October 2000. The average rainfall across the area for September was 0.49 inches. This represents just 13% of the normal September rainfall of 3.81 inches. Individual station rainfall across the area ranged from a low of 0.02 inches at Buckingham VA, to 2.80 inches at Philpott Dam VA.
Temperatures were also warmer than normal across much of the region, as much as 4 degrees in the northwest piedmont of North Carolina. The weather was pretty quiet. With the northern branch jet stream located well to the north of the area, there was little upper-level support for organized thunderstorm development to affect the area. There were two days that saw thunderstorms produce severe weather, and it was isolated. The 20th saw saw 6 severe weather events, mainly in the North Carolina and Virginia foothills...where a few trees and powerlines were downed...most of which occurred in Henry County.
Precipitation events were also few and far between across the region during the month. A frontal passage late on September 16 th produced scattered showers and thunderstorms mainly across the piedmont sections of southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina. The cooperative observing site in Brownsburg VA had 1.04 inches of rain from these storms, but was the only site to receive in excess of an inch of rainfall. The automated IFLOWS gage at Glade Creek VA had 0.96 inches, Danville VA 0.80 inches, and the automated IFLOWS gage at Smith River VA 0.75 inches. Another front crossed the area late on September 20 th triggering scattered showers and thunderstorms, again across the piedmont. A cooperative observing site at Philpott Dam VA had 1.81 inches, while another at Mt. Airy NC 0.94 inches from these storms. The IFLOWS gage at Mt. Hermon Church VA had 0.84 inches, and another at Blackberry Bridge VA had 0.83 inches. The cooperative observing site at Huddleston also received 0.83 inches. As in the previous system, the showers developed in the deeper moisture across the east, leaving the Blue Ridge and Appalachian highlands dry.
The dry conditions prompted the issuance of the first Hydrologic Outlook (ESFRNK) on September 15 th as the U.S. Drought Monitor showed abnormally dry conditions across the area. Remnants from Hurricane Rita moved west of the HSA on September 26 th but 24-hour rainfall was mostly less than 0.25 inches with a few isolated higher amounts. Another Hydrologic Outlook was issued on September 29 th as D1 or Moderate drought was depicted across the piedmonts of southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina.
Specific climate station information for the month:
Roanoke had its second driest month on record with only 0.23 inches falling. Most of this (0.19) inches fell on the 16th. Normally, Roanoke can expect to receive 3.85 inches of rain during September. It was also the 7th warmest September on record, with an average temperature of 71.2 degrees. The warmest temperature during the month was 92 degrees on the 23rd, while the coolest was 43 degrees on the 30th.
At Lynchburg, only 0.12 inches of rain fell, making it the 4th driest on record. Normally, Lynchburg receives 3.88 inches during September. The average temperature was 3.7 degrees above normal, with a reading of 70.8 degrees. The warmest high was on the 23rd with a temperature of 93 degrees, while the coolest low was 45 degrees on the 30th.
In Danville, September was the 2nd driest on record, with a rainfall total of 0.31 inches. Normally, rainfall for the month is 4.08 inches. It was also the 6th warmest on record, with an average temperature of 73.5 degrees. The warmest high was 93 degrees on the 20th and 23rd, while the coolest low was 51 degrees on the 9th and 30th.
Blacksburg had its driest September on record, dating back to 1952. A quarter of an inch of rain fell during the month, when normally 3.39 inches would fall. It was also the 7th warmest September on record, with an average temperature of 66.4 degrees, 3.4 degrees above normal. The warmest high was 87 degrees which occurred on the 15th and 23rd, with the coolest low of 37 degrees on the 30th.
And in Bluefield, it was the driest September since records began in 1959. Only 0.37 inches of rain fell, which is 2.84 inches below normal. And it was the 2nd warmest September on record with an average temperature of 68.8 degrees, 4 degrees above normal. The 19th saw the warmest high with a reading of 87 degrees, and the coolest low was on the last day of the month with a reading of 42 degrees.