The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
City falls short on rainfall again
Some temperature extremes, and too little or too much rain.
That about sums up the weather here in 2013—a year of near-record rain in areas west of Fredericksburg, and a lingering precipitation deficit in the city.
Culpeper County was among spots around the state that had far more rain than usual for the year—62.5 inches, says Free Lance–Star reporter Donnie Johnston, who has a home weather station there. He says 70.1 inches fell during 2003, a record at his station.
Average annual rainfall in Culpeper and Fredericksburg is just over 43 inches.
Some other locations around Virginia also had much more rain than normal last year.
Reagan National Airport in Washington measured 44.27 inches—nearly 5 inches more than in a normal year.
Richmond got 53.68 inches, about 10 inches more than normal. Blacksburg received 52 inches; it normally gets about 49 inches, according to Jim Piro, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.com.
Piro says it’s not unusual for some places to get a lot more rain than others.
“All it takes is one thunderstorm to drop 5 inches in one area,” he said.
According to Accuweather, which supplies weather information daily to The Free Lance–Star, 39.61 inches of rain fell in Fredericksburg during 2013.
That was about 3.47 inches shy of a normal year, and comes on the heels of a 9.5-inch deficit in 2012.
The data comes from the University of Mary Washington weather station at its Fredericksburg campus.
December, it turns out, was the year’s most prodigious month for rain, racking up 6.10 inches—nearly twice the norm of 3.28 inches. That’s a lot, but to put it into perspective, 6.17 inches of rain fell in one day here on Oct. 16, 1942. That contributed to the worst flood in Fredericksburg’s history.
December was remarkable for another reason: It was 60 degrees or above on seven days.
It was 64 and 65 degrees on Dec. 5 and 6, respectively. And a warm spell beginning with a 60-degree day on Dec. 19, reached its peak on Dec. 22 at a balmy 73 degrees.
On the flip side, much of March 2013 was colder than normal, with several inches of wet, heavy snow in Fredericksburg on March 6, with up to 14 inches reported in Orange County.
Two other late-winter snows fell on the area on March 17 and again on March 24–26.
It was unusually dry in February, July and September, with less than 2 inches of rain each of those months. July, normally the wettest month of the year here, was the driest with just 1.31 inches of rainfall.
Behind December, June was the second-wettest month, with 5.26 inches.
Tropical Storm Andrea hit the state on June 7, with wind and heavy rain here.
On June 13, two funnel clouds were reported in Spotsylvania County during strong thunderstorms, but no tornadoes touched down, according to the National Weather Service.
July 19 was the hottest day of 2013, at 94 degrees. The coldest was 4 degrees on Jan. 23.
ON THE NET: UMW weather station, umwva.alerteagle.com
Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431