Fall/Winter Coop Observer Precipitation Across the Area
The National Weather Service maintains a Cooperative Observer Network consisting primarily of volunteers that record observations of precipitation and high and low temperatures each day. There is at least one location in each of the 40 counties in the Blacksburg County Warning Area. The map below has a dot for each of the cooperative observer sites. Mouse-over the dots to see the name of the location, and left click to see a precipitation table for that location. The table will contain the total liquid equivalent precipitation for each month for the period of October through March, and also the the total snow amount for each month when available. Most of the coop snow reports are based on a measurement of snow depth at 7:00 am, so these snow amounts are likely a little less than the actual snowfall that occurred depending upon the amount of any melting in between the 7:00 am measurements each day. In addition, average precipitation and snowfall has been calculated for all sites with periods of record greater than 10 years, and these averages and the departures from the average are also listed in the table.
Dry Winter and Early Spring Brings Drought to the Area
On the whole, precipitation for the 5 month period was well below average across the area. However, many sites had precipitation either near or above their averages for the three month period of October through December, so most of the defecit across the area occurred in the three month period of January through March. March, in particular, was extremely dry for most of the coop locations, with many sites receiving less than an inch of precipitation, and ranging from 3 to 4 inches below their averages for March. The driest areas tended to extend along the Blue Ridge in northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia, including most of the New River Valley, and eastward into the foothills and piedmont. Western slopes areas of southeast West Virginia and the southwest mountains of Virginia received the most precipitation from January through March, but because of lighter amounts in October through December, they were still well below average by the end of March. Snow amounts were also below average for all locations, and well below average in the foothills and piedmont areas. Because of the dry weather, particularly the extremely dry March, the entire area was classified as experiencing moderate drought as of April 4th.