Thank You Lee by Matt Ferguson

After several weeks of dry weather and many locations closing in on drought conditions, we are thankful for Lee's soaking rainfall.

Last Sunday morning, all official weather reporting stations had a deficit for 2011. These ranged from nearly an inch in Blacksburg to almost eight inches in Danville. By Sunday evening the rain began to arrive. Labor Day and Tuesday widespread rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee from the Gulf of Mexico covered then entire area. Embedded in the rain were heavy tropical downpours, with rainfall rates one to two inches per hour at times.

The rain pretty much came to an end late Tuesday night. Lynchburg officially picked up 2.10" of rain from the storm, of course many of you saw much more than that. While we did have some flooding in spots, it really cut into the 2011 rainfall deficits. Below details how much more we need to get back to normal for Danville and Lynchburg. However, notice Roanoke and Blacksburg currently have a surplus.

While most areas saw a general 1 to 3 inch soaker, many of you received a lot more. Below shows the Doppler Radar rainfall estimates for the entire viewing area. You can easily see a band of heavy tropical rain that setup across western sections. From Carroll County to Nelson County a strip of 4 to 8 inches of rain were common. If you look close, you can see up to a 10 inch reading in Carroll County. This is possible, as we had a viewer measure 11 inches in their rain gauge; however they did not give their location. If I had to guess, the location may have been on the southern side of a mountain, where upslope forcing was maximized. We also had another smaller band of very heavy rain develop across eastern sections. From eastern Halifax County to Appomattox County an area of 3 to 6 inches of rain fell.

I think we'll agree a small amount of brief flooding is much better than widespread drought for weeks or months!