Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Episode 457 (1-28-19): Catching the Ferry at the Potomac River


Click to listen to episode (4:25).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Images
Sources
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).


Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 1-25-19.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 28, 2019.

MUSIC – ~16 sec

This week, that excerpt of “Ferry Song,” by Bob Gramann of Fredericksburg, Va., opens an episode about the widespread and diverse use of ferry boats.   To bring the topic home, from the Canadian setting of Mr. Gramann’s song to the Commonwealth of Virginia, have a listen for about 30 seconds to the following ferry sounds, and see if you know what Maryland-owned river bordering northern Virginia has one remaining commercial ferry operation.

SOUNDS - ~30 sec

If you guessed the Potomac River, you’re right!  You heard sounds from a January 11, 2019, Potomac crossing on White’s Ferry, which travels between Montgomery County, Maryland and Loudoun County, Virginia, about four miles north of Leesburg.  A public ferry has been in operation at that location since at least 1817, and it’s the one remaining of some 100 ferries that operated historically on the Potomac.

While ferries are no longer a widespread feature on that river, they remain vital means of water transport elsewhere in Virginia, in many other parts of the United States, and around the world.  Two other Virginia examples include the privately operated ferry to Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay, and the state-operated Jamestown-Scotland ferry across the James River between Jamestown and Surry County.  Some other states with significant ferry systems are Alaska, California, Maine, New York, North Carolina, and Washington. Worldwide, the Web site ferrylines.com currently includes 7,700 ferry routes in 140 coastal countries.  As that Web states, throughout history people have been using ferries “to cross borders, transport goods, and connect with other people.”

Back at White's Ferry on the Potomac River, cars, bikes, and pedestrians can spend about three to five minutes—one-way—participating in that long transportation tradition.

Thanks to Bob Gramann for permission to use this week’s music.  We close with one more ferry sound, which is rather musical in its own right.  Here are about 15 seconds of a foghorn from a ferry in Washington State, crossing Puget Sound between Seattle and Bainbridge, in a recording from about 1996.  Thanks to Freesound.org contributor Gray Gaffer for providing this sound for public use.

SOUND - ~15 sec

SHIP’S BELL

Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

“Ferry Song,” from the 2000 album “That Squirrel Song,” is copyright by Bob Gramann, used with permission.  Bob Gramann’s Web site is http://www.bobgramann.com/.

The ferry foghorn sound was recorded on the ferry M.V. Spokane by user Gray Gaffer, posted 1/17/10, and made available for public use by Freesound.org, online at https://freesound.org/people/GrayGaffer/sounds/87785/, under the Creative Commons 0 (Universal - Public Domain) License.  For more information on Creative Commons licenses, please see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/; information on the public domain license specifically is online at https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.

IMAGES

Scenes from White’s Ferry onshore in Montgomery County, Md., and on the Potomac River, January 11, 2019.


Entrance sign on the Maryland shore.


Toll-information sign on the Maryland shore, with the Potomac River, ferry, and Virginia shore (Loudoun County) in background.


View of the Potomac River looking upstream from the ferry crossing from Maryland (right) to Virginia (left).


View of the ferry's approach to Loudoun County, Virginia, with the ferry cable to the right.


Sign with historical information on the Maryland shore.

SOURCES USED FOR AUDIO AND OFFERING MORE INFORMATION

Alaska Marine Highway System, online at http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/index.shtml.

St. John Barned-Smith, White’s Ferry’s swift trips across the Potomac have long history, Washington Post, 11/1/12.

Cape May [N.J.]/Lewes [Del.] Ferry, online at https://www.cmlf.com/.

Casco Bay Lines [Portland, Me.], online at https://www.cascobaylines.com/.

Ferrylines.com, online at https://www.ferrylines.com/search/.

Historical Marker Database, “White’s Ferry,” online at https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=741.

Monique LaBorde, Real Steam Whistles Return To Ferries On Cape Cod, National Public Radio (NPR)/”All Things Considered,” 1/1/19, 2 min./47 sec. audio.

Lake Champlain [Vt.] Ferries, online at http://ferries.com/.

Loudounhistory.org, “The History of Loudoun County, Virginia/White’s Ferry—The last working ferry on the Potomac,” online at https://www.loudounhistory.org/history/whites-ferry/.

S.M. Lutfir Kabir et al., “Solar powered ferry boat for the rural area of Bangladesh,” 2016 International Conference on Advances in Electrical, Electronic and Systems Engineering (ICAEES), Nov. 14-16, 2016, in Putrajaya, Malaysia; available online at https://ieeexplore-ieee-org.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/document/7888005 (subscription may be required).

Maine State Ferry Service, online at https://www.maine.gov/mdot/ferry/.

North Carolina Ferry System, online at https://www.ncdot.gov/travel-maps/ferry-tickets-services/Pages/default.aspx.

Town of Poolesville, Md., “White’s Ferry,” online at https://www.poolesvillemd.gov/338/Whites-Ferry.

Washington State Ferries, online at http://www.wsdot.com/ferries/.

WikiVoyage, “Ferries in the United States,” online at https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Ferries_in_the_United_States.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Overall Importance of Water” and “Recreation” subject categories.

Following are links to some other episodes on boats.
Episode 111, 5/21/12 and Episode 370, 5/29/17 – on Safe Boating Week.
Episode 131, 10/8/12 – on dock safety.
Episode 159, 4/29/13 – on smart buoys in the Chesapeake Bay.
Episode 270, 6/15/15 – on Operation Dry Water and boating under the influence (BUI).

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION

The episode—the audio, extra information, or sources—may help with the following Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs).

2013 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2010 Science SOLs

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 – Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 – natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 History Theme
1.2 – Virginia history and life in present-day Virginia.

Grades K-3 Economics Theme
2.8 – natural, human, and capital resources.
3.8 – how natural, human, and capital resources are used for goods and services.

Virginia Studies Course
VS.1 – impact of geographic features on people, places, and events in Virginia history.
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.5 – factors that shaped colonial America and conditions in the colonies, including how people interacted with the environment to produce goods and service.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.4 – types and significance of natural, human, and capital resources.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.
Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Episode 456 (1-21-19): Pelicans


Click to listen to episode (3:52).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Images
Sources
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).


Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 1-18-19.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 21, 2019.   The week we revisit a January 2012 episode about a bird known as a symbol of coastal areas.  Have a listen for about 10 seconds to the following mystery sounds, and see if you can guess what’s making the clucking, croaking, and squeaking.  And here’s a hint: You might find this throaty creature in a dive.

SOUND - ~9 sec

If you guessed pelican chicks, you’re right!   Out of seven or eight pelican species worldwide, two occur in North America, and both are known from Virginia’s coast, at least occasionally.  The American White Pelican is considered an uncommon visitor in Virginia.  The Brown Pelican, on the other hand, is found year-round in the Commonwealth and has been occurring in increasing numbers in Virginia coastal waters since the 1980s.  Brown Pelicans were listed as a federally endangered species in 1970, after their populations had significantly decreased over several decades.  In fact, protection of Brown Pelicans was a significant reason for establishment in 1903 of the first U.S. National Wildlife Refuge on Florida’s Pelican Island.  A 1972 ban on the pesticide DDT, habitat restoration, and other conservation efforts have helped Brown Pelicans make a remarkable recovery.  The species’ populations from Alabama northward along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts were removed from the federally endangered list in1985, and other populations were removed from the list in 2009.

Pelicans are fish eaters, and Brown Pelicans are known for their feeding behavior of plunging from flight into water to trap fish in their large, expandable throat pouch.  Surfacing after an underwater catch, the birds point their bill down to drain out large amounts of water, then raise the bill up to swallow the fish.  Some other Brown Pelican peculiarities include being largely silent as adults; having excellent eyesight to spot fish from high above; suffering from seagulls that will try to take fish from a pelican’s pouch; and standing over their eggs to incubate them with heat from the skin of the adult pelican’s feet.

With their fortunes much improved since the first days of Florida’s Pelican Island Refuge in the early 1900s, Brown Pelicans are now a familiar flying and fishing feature along many coastlines, including Virginia’s.

Thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for making the pelican chicks sounds available for public use.

SHIP’S BELL

Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 95, 1-16-12, and the “Water Sounds and Music” segment of Episode 37, 10-11-10.

The sounds of pelican chicks were taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “Video Productions and Broadcasts,” online at http://www.fws.gov/video/sound.htm, accessed 1/18/19.  For more Fish and Wildlife Service sounds, as well as video and images, see the National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.

IMAGES

Brown Pelican painting (top) and American White Pelican painting (bottom), originally published between 1827 and 1838 by John James Audubon, as reprinted in 1985 by Abbeville Press, New York. Information about Birds of America is available from the National Audubon Society, online at http://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america; the Brown Pelican entry is online at https://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america/brown-pelican-0. Photos taken in 2019 from the reprint copy (no. 6 of 350 copies printed in 1985) owned by Special Collections of Virginia Tech Libraries. Virginia Water Radio thanks Special Collections for permission to photograph their copy and for their assistance.



Brown Pelican at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Photo by John and Karen Hollingsworth, made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov, accessed 1-21-19.  The specific link to the photo is https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/natdiglib/id/1628/rec/2.


Young Brown Pelican on nest in Breton National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana. Photo by Donna A. Dewhurst, made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov, accessed 1-21-19.  The specific link to the photo is https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/natdiglib/id/3400/rec/13.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT BROWN PELICANS

The scientific name of the Brown Pelican is Pelecanus occidentalis.

Following is some information on reproduction and feeding by Brown Pelicans, excerpted from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) “Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at https://vafwis.dgif.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040020&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=17914.  (VDGIF information on the American White Pelican is online at https://vafwis.dgif.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040019&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=17914.)

Reproduction
“The breeding season depends on the location.  The incubation period is 28 days.  There is one brood/year with 1-3 young/nest.  There are 1.2-1.5 fledglings/nesting effort needed for a stable population.  The females will re-nest if the first nest is destroyed.  They are sexually mature at 3 years.  Courtship activities are confined to the nest site.  The male brings nesting material to the female who builds the nest.  They are a long-lived bird.  The clutch size is from 2-5, and the eggs are chalky white, 3 X 1.9 inches.  Three eggs per clutch is the most common size; but 2 eggs is also common.”

Feeding
“This species will dive down on a school of fish from the air.  They feed in shallow estuarine waters.  They have been seen 30-60 km offshore.  They occasionally feed beyond the breakers, and frequent fishing piers.  They fly low over the water, spot a potential prey fish, and dive to capture it.  The fish are then transferred to the gular pouch.   They dive from heights of 3-9 meters and will fish from the surface of the water.  Red tides which kill fish cause pelicans to move out of the area.  They emigrate when food becomes scarce.  Cold temperatures cause fish to move down in the water column and become unavailable to surface feeding pelicans.  Foods include, crustaceans, menhaden, mullet, sardines, pinfish.”

Distribution and Habitat
“They are maritime, and not found inland.  They are found from North Carolina to Florida, around the Gulf coast to Texas and Mexico and southward to Venezuela, the West Indies and the Caribbean islands.  They are usually resident near breeding grounds.  The young birds tend to wander.  They are found in salt bays, beaches, and oceans on perches, posts and boats.  Sandspits and offshore sandbars are used for loafing in the daytime and roosting at night.  They are found on coastal inlets, mangrove keys, sandbars, and fishing piers.”

SOURCES

Used for Audio

Audubon Guide to North American Birds, “American White Pelican,” online at https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/american-white-pelican; and “Brown Pelican,” online at https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/brown-pelican.

Chesapeake Bay Program, “Brown Pelican,” online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/field-guide/entry/brown_pelican.

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “All About Birds,” online at http://www.allaboutbirds.org. The American White Pelican entry is at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_White_Pelican/; the Brown Pelican entry is at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown_Pelican/.

Encyclopedia Britannica, “Pelican,” as of 1/3/19, online at https://www.britannica.com/animal/pelican.

Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., 2006.

Chandler S. Robbins et al., A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, St. Martin’s Press, New York, N.Y., 2001.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Brown pelican populations recovered, removed from Endangered Species List, 11/11/09 news release.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Breton National Wildlife Refuge (Louisiana), “Brown Pelican,” online at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Breton/wildlife_and_habitat/pelican.html.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge (Florida), online at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Pelican_Island/about.html.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at http://vafwis.org/fwis/?Title=VaFWIS+Species+Information+By+Name&vUT=Visitor.  The American White Pelican entry is online at https://vafwis.dgif.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040019&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=17914.  The Brown Pelican entry is online at https://vafwis.dgif.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040020&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=17914

For More Information about Pelicans or Other Birds

John James Audubon, “American White Pelican—Plate 311,” from Birds of America, accessed from The Audubon Society, online at https://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america/american-white-pelican.

John James Audubon, “Brown Pelican—Plate 251,” from Birds of America, accessed from The Audubon Society, online at https://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america/brown-pelican-0.

BirdNote®, a daily broadcast/podcast on birds, online at http://birdnote.org/.

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “E-bird,” online at https://ebird.org/home.  This program was featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 440, 10-1-18.

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “Merlin Photo ID,” online at http://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/.  The application for mobile devices allows users to submit a bird photograph to get identification of the bird.

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and American Ornithologists’ Union, “Birds of North America Online,” online at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna (subscription required).

Virginia Society of Ornithology, online at http://www.virginiabirds.org/.  The Society is non-profit organization dedicated to the study, conservation, and enjoyment of birds in the Commonwealth.

Xeno-canto Foundation Web site, online at http://www.xeno-canto.org/.  The site provides bird songs from around the world.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Birds” subject category.

Following are links to three other episodes that mention pelicans.
Episode 183, 10-14-13, on fall migratory birds.
Episode 206, 3-24-14, on sounds of spring.
Episode 282, 9-21-15, on living things vs. non-living things (for kindergarten students).

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION

The episode—the audio, extra information, or sources—may help with the following Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs).

2010 Science SOLs

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
3.10 – impacts on survival of species, including effects of fire, flood, disease, and erosion on organisms.
4.9 – Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.
6.9 – public policy decisions related to the environment (including resource management and conservation, land use decision, hazard mitigation, cost/benefit assessments).

Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
K.7 – basic needs and processes of plants and animals.
1.5 – animals’ basic needs and distinguishing characteristics.
3.4 – behavioral and physiological adaptations.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
2.5 – living things as part of a system, including habitats.
3.5 – food webs.
4.5 – ecosystem interactions and human influences on ecosystem.
5.5 – cell structures and functions, organism classification, and organism traits.
6.7 – natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS.8 – community and population interactions, including food webs, niches, symbiotic relationships.
LS.9 – adaptations for particular ecosystems’ biotic and abiotic factors, including characteristics of land, marine, and freshwater environments.
LS.10 – changes over time in ecosystems, communities, and populations, and factors affecting those changes, including climate changes and catastrophic disturbances.
LS.11 – relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.10 – ocean processes, interactions, and policies affecting coastal zones, including Chesapeake Bay.

Biology Course
BIO.1 – current applications to reinforce science concepts.
BIO.2 – water chemistry and its impact on life processes.
BIO.8 – dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.18 – cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Government Course
GOVT.7 – national government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy process at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.15 – role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Episode 455 (1-14-19): The Record Wet Year of 2018


Click to listen to episode (4:20).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Images
Sources
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).


Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 1-11-19.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 14, 2019.

This week, we feature a sound-and-music medley for a weather-and-water mystery.   Have a listen for about 25 seconds, and see if you know what kind of weather record was broken in 2018 in several locations in Virginia.

SOUNDS and MUSIC - ~18 sec

If you guessed precipitation or rainfall, you’re right!  You heard a Blacksburg, Va., thunderstorm, along with part of “Rain in the Valley” by The Steel Wheels, from Rockingham County, Va.   In 2018, annual local records for total precipitation—that is, rainfall plus the water equivalent of frozen precipitation—were broken in five National Weather Service observation locations in Virginia: Danville, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Reagan National Airport in Arlington County, and Dulles Airport in Loudoun County.  And Richmond’s Weather Service observation location experienced the second-highest annual precipitation on record.  Records at those locations go back to the early 1900s or late 1800s, except for the Dulles Airport location, where records go back to 1960.  Those six locations had over 60 inches of precipitation in 2018, compared to normal annual values of around 40 to 45 inches for most locations in Virginia.

At six other Weather Service observation locations covering parts of the Commonwealth, precipitation in 2018 didn’t break records but still ranged from about seven inches above normal at Wallops Island in Accomack County to nearly 20 inches above normal at the Charlottesville-Albemarle County Airport.  Beyond Virginia, across the eastern and Midwestern United States, annual precipitation records were broken in nearly 200 locations in 2018, according to Ian Livingston of The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.

Besides official National Weather Service observation locations, Virginia has over 1000 weather-observation stations participating in the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network of volunteer weather observers.  If you live in the Commonwealth, a station near you may also have seen record precipitation in rainy 2018.

Thanks to The Steel Wheels for permission to use this week’s music.  We close about a bit more music for precipitation; here’s part of “Rain Refrain,” composed and performed for Virginia Water Radio by Torrin Hallett, a 2018 graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio.

MUSIC - ~29 sec

SHIP’S BELL

Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.   For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

“Rain in the Valley,” from the 2012 album, “Lay Down, Lay Low,” is copyright by The Steel Wheels, used with permission.  More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at http://www.thesteelwheels.com/.  This music was also featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 328, 8-8-16, on flash flooding.

“Rain Refrain,” composed in 2016, is copyright by Torrin Hallett, used with permission. Torrin is a 2018 graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio. Click here if you’d like to hear the full piece (43 seconds). More information about Torrin is available at his Web site, http://www.torrinjhallett.com/, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/torrin.hallett. Thanks very much to Torrin for composing the piece for Virginia Water Radio. This music was also featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 338, 10-17-16, “Rainfall Dimensions.”

Thanks to Kevin McGuire, associate director of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, for his help with this episode.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.

IMAGES


Percent of normal precipitation for the Southeastern U.S. climate region and for the continental United States for the past year, as of January 7, 2019.  Maps taken from the High Plains Regional Climate Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, online at https://hprcc.unl.edu/maps.php?map=ACISClimateMaps.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT PRECIPITATION IN VIRGINIA IN 2018

Following are some details on precipitation in 2018 at 12 National Weather Service (NWS) observation locations in or adjacent to Virginia.  All values are in inches. The information in this section is from the following sources:

Climate pages of the following National Weather Service Forecast Offices:
Baltimore-Washington, online at https://w2.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=lwx;
Blacksburg, Va., online at https://w2.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=rnk;
Morristown, Tenn., online at https://w2.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=mrx;
Wakefield, Va., online at https://w2.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=akq.

and

Jason Samenow and Ian Livingston, Drenched city: 2018 is now Washington’s wettest year ever recorded, Washington Post, 12/15/18.

According to the NWS, as of January 2019 precipitation values from 2018 are still preliminary; that is, they haven’t undergone final quality control by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and therefore are subject to revision.  Final, certified climate data are available from the NCDC online at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov.”  Normal values currently used by the NWS are based on the period from 1981 to 2010.  The NCDC released these normal values in July 2011. For information on the normal values, see the NCDC Web page at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/land-based-station-data/land-based-datasets/climate-normals.


2018 Precipitation Compared to Normal Values

Location
January 2018-
December 2018 Observed
Annual Normal (based on 1981-2010)
Observed as Percent of Annual Normal
Observed in Inches Above Normal (rounded to nearest tenth of inch)
Blacksburg
52.02
40.89

127
11.1
Bluefield1

49.86
39.63
126
10.2
Bristol2

53.84
41.01
131
12.8
Charlottesville3

62.59
42.71
147
19.9
Danville*

67.43 R
44.41
152
23.0
Lynchburg

65.70 R
41.57
158
24.1
Norfolk

56.68
46.53
122
10.2
Reagan National Airport4
66.28 R
39.74
167
26.5
Richmond

63.74
43.60
146
20.1
Roanoke

62.45 R
41.25
151
21.2
Wallops Island5

47.39
40.84
116
6.6
Washington-Dulles Airport6
66.75 R
41.54
161
25.2

R = record monthly high for the given month, or annual high, for the given location.
*NWS reported nine days of data missing at Danville in January 2018, so Danville total is possibly greater than shown.

Location notes
1 - The Bluefield location is the Mercer County, W. Va., airport, near the Va.-W.Va. state line.
2- The Bristol location Tri-Cities Airport in Tenn., about 20 miles from Bristol, Va./Tenn.
3 - The Charlottesville location is the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.
4 - Reagan National Airport is in Arlington County.
5 - Wallops Island is in Accomack County.
6 - Washington-Dulles Airport is in Loudoun County.

Annual Precipitation Record Values

Blacksburg – 57.63 in 1972 (records since 1952).
Bluefield – 54.58 in 2004 (records since 1909).
Bristol – 65.64 in 2003 (records since 1937).
Charlottesville – information not found.
Danville – 67.43 in 2018 (previous was 60.03 in 1996; records since 1916).
Lynchburg – 65.70 in 2018 (previous was 59.71 in 1972; records since 1893).
Norfolk – 70.72 in 1889 (records since 1871).
Richmond – 72.02 in 1889 (records since 1872).
Roanoke – 62.45 in 2018 (previous was 57.84 in 1948; records since 1912).
Wallops Island – information not found.
Washington, D.C. (now measured at Reagan National Airport in Arlington County, Va.) – 66.28 in 2018 (previous record was 61.33 in 1889; records for Washington since 1871, according to The Washington Post).
Washington-Dulles Airport – 66.75 in 2018 (previous was 65.67 in 2003) (records since 1960).

SOURCES

Used for Audio

Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHaS), “Virginia Daily Precipitation Reports,” online at http://www.cocorahs.org/state.aspx?state=va.  “Stations in Virginia,” at https://www.cocorahs.org/Stations/ListStations.aspx, lists over 1103 records, as of January 14, 2019.

Ian Livingston, Dozens of sites in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest have already logged their wettest year on record, Washington Post, 11/28/18.

Kevin Myatt, Roanoke annual rainfall record is official, Roanoke Times, 12/16/18.

National Weather Service Forecast Office Web sites:
*Baltimore-Washington, online at https://w2.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=lwx), for Washington-Dulles Airport in Loudoun County, Washington-Reagan National Airport in Arlington County, and Charlottesville;
*Blacksburg, Va., online at https://w2.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=rnk, for Blacksburg, Bluefield, Danville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke;
*Morristown, Tenn., online at https://w2.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=mrx, for the Tri-Cities Airport, about 20 miles from Bristol, Va.-Tenn.;
*Wakefield, Va., online at https://w2.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=akq, for Norfolk, Richmond, and Wallops Island in Accomack County.

National Weather Service, “Snow Water Equivalent and Depth Information,” online at https://www.weather.gov/marfc/Snow.

Jason Samenow and Ian Livingston, Drenched city: 2018 is now Washington’s wettest year ever recorded, Washington Post, 12/15/18.

Madeleine Simon and Alejandro Alvarez, It’s Official: 2018 is DC’s Wettest Year on Record, WTOP FM-Washington, D.C, 12/15/18.

U.S. Climate Data, “Climate Virginia,” online at https://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/virginia/united-states/3216.

For More Information about Rainfall in Virginia and Elsewhere

High Plains Regional Climate Center at https://hprcc.unl.edu/maps.php?map=ACISClimateMaps).  This site provides maps of total precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the past 7, 30, 60, or 90 days for all U.S. regions.  Virginia is in the Southeast region.

National Weather Service/Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, online at http://water.weather.gov/precip/, providing maps of precipitation nationwide or by state, with capability to show county boundaries, and archives available for specific days, months, or years.

National Weather Service/Storm Prediction Center, online at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/, providing daily maps and text for preliminary reports of severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hail.

National Weather Service/Hydrometeorological Design Studies Center, “NOAA Atlas 14 Point Precipitation Frequency Estimates: Va.,” online at http://hdsc.nws.noaa.gov/hdsc/pfds/pfds_map_cont.html?bkmrk=va.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Weather/Natural Disasters” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes rainfall, flooding, or stormwater.
Episode 192, 12/16/13 – Rain, Romance, and the Rockfish River in “Blue Ridge Girl” by Chamomile and Whiskey.
Episode 272, 6/29/15 – Remembering the 1995 Day that Madison County, Virginia, was the Center of Too Much Atmospheric Attention.
Episode 328, 8/8/16 – Flash Flooding, Featuring “Rain in the Valley” by The Steel Wheels.
Episode 338, 10/17/16 – Rainfall Dimensions.
Episode 442, 10/15/18 – New River High Water History at Radford, Va.
Episode 182, 10/7/13 – Stormwater’s On Your Street.
Episode 365, 4/24/17 – Where’s Stormwater Get Started? Ask a Middle Schooler!

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION

The episode—the audio, extra information, or sources—may help with the following Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs).

2013 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2010 Science SOLs

Grades K-6 Scientific Investigation, Reasoning, and Logic Theme
3.1, 4.1, 5.1, and 6.1 – Gathering and analyzing data.

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme
3.9 – Water cycle, including sources of water, energy driving water cycle, water essential for living things, and water limitations and conservation.

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 – Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems Theme
2.6 – identification of common storms and other weather phenomena.
4.6 – weather conditions, phenomena, and measurements.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 – natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

Grades K-6 Matter Theme
6.6 – Properties of air (including pressure, temperature, and humidity) and structure/dynamics of earth’s atmosphere, including weather topics.

Earth Science Course
ES.1 – current applications to reinforce science concepts.
ES.12 – weather and climate.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Civics and Economics Course
CE.1 – skills for historical thinking, geographical analysis, economic decision-making, and responsible citizenship.
CE.6 – government at the national level.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Government Course
GOVT.1 – skills for historical thinking, geographical analysis, economic decision-making, and responsible citizenship.
GOVT.7 – national government organization and powers.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.
Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.