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Beyond The Forecast: 2020 was the wettest year on record in Lynchburg and Roanoke

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Happy Monday and welcome to the final week of 2020! I know a lot of you are ready for this crazy year to be over and for fresh beginnings in 2021.

We here at Your Local Weather Authority have been busy this year, tracking numerous heavy rain (1″ or more) events that have impacted Southwest and Central Virginia.

There were 23 such days in Lynchburg, 20 in Roanoke and 19 in Blacksburg and Danville. Those numbers rank second in recorded weather history for all four climate sites.

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Climate Central says the number of waterlogged days will rise in the future, due to our warming climate. Warmer air can hold more water vapor, which eventually condenses and falls from the sky as heavy rain.

The tropics had a big impact on how wet this year was. You may remember Hurricane Eta, the remnants of which soaked us around Veterans Day. That system resulted in the wettest days of the year in Lynchburg, Danville and Blacksburg.

Roanoke’s wettest day of the year happened back in May, when a cut-off low sent heavy rain and record flooding into the Star City.

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Last Thursday’s front provided enough rain to push Roanoke to its wettest year on record! The Star City joins Lynchburg in making soggy history. Blacksburg and Danville are within striking distance of their wettest years on record, but it appears each community will come up just short.

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I want to dive a little deeper into how much rain the Hill City received this year: almost 70 inches over twelve months.

Some quick math lets us convert the rain total into the number of gallons of water dumped on Lynchburg: almost 61 billion! That’s enough water to fill about 92,000 Olympic swimming pools. Can you even wrap your head around that crazy stat?

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Luckily, we have little to no rain to track through Wednesday, but we could get soaked as we flip the calendar over to 2021. More details on the system that could bring us 1-3″ of rain can be found in our daily forecast article.

You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg, the New River Valley or elsewhere around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather. Know your zone!

In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather and science content on WSLS.com. Here are a few links from the past week to check out:

If you prefer your weather information delivered by social media, you can follow Your Local Weather Authority on Facebook and Twitter.

One final note before I wrap up the final WSLS Weather newsletter of 2020. I received an amazing Christmas gift this year: the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist designation from the American Meteorological Society!

I received some amazing news today! I have been designated a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist by the American...

Posted by Justin McKee WSLS 10 News on Monday, December 21, 2020

This makes Your Local Weather Authority the ONLY weather team in the viewing area to have all four meteorologists AMS-certified.

You can expect the same detailed and accurate forecasts from us as we head into 2021. Have a safe holiday and I’ll see you right back here next Monday.

-- Justin McKee


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