By Chris White

Weather Blog: Since Fredericksburg resides "in the seam" between the Richmond VA and Washington DC media markets this blog is a look at the weather from a Fredericksburg-centric point of view.

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Light showers and river levels

The rain gauge at the UMW weather station currently indicates that a grand total of 0.04″ of rain have fallen over the ‘Burg from the current weather system.  Since it appears that we may only get another 0.1″ or so by the time it all ends early this evening we won’t see much relief from the dry conditions that have settled in this autumn.  Fredericksburg’s average rainfall totals up to 42 inches per year and so far – even with Sandy’s rains – we’ve only received just over 30 inches.

This prompted me to check the Rappahannock River levels and I found this graph of current conditions at the gauge along River Road in Spotsylvania county:

Then I checked the next gauge downstream, which is at City Dock:

Besides noting the generally low water levels I was once again reminded that the ‘Burg sits just downstream of the fall line, the point at which the Rappahannock becomes affected by the tides.  The gauge on River Road is upstream of the fall line and is unaffected by tidal swings while the City Dock gauge is obviously below the fall line and shows significant water level changes with the tide.

Given that many major cities are located on the fall line of different rivers (Washington DC and Richmond are two other examples) the effects of geography and geology on our society have been profound.  This is something that I am continually amazed at even though I’ve been aware of it for years.  What does that have to do with today’s weather?  Nothing…but it was a fascinating reminder this morning.