HIDE Winter Storm Watch issued February 18 at 3:28AM EST until February 20 at 6:00PM EST by NWS Blacksburg
...Winter weather expected from Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday
.A strong area of high pressure will shifts east into the
Northeast United States, this will result in cold air wedging
down the Appalachians. As a winter storm lifts northeast across
our region, precipitation will spread north over this shallow dome
of cold air, producing a wintery mixture of snow, sleet and
freezing rain across our region. The storm is still evolving and
the amounts and precipitation types will likely change over time.
...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH
* WHAT...Heavy mixed precipitation possible. Total snow
accumulations will vary from light amounts in the piedmont to
heavy snows in Southeast West Virginia and Alleghany highlands
of Virginia. The highest amounts of snow will occur in western
Greenbrier where 4 to 8 inches are possible. Ice accumulations
will range from a light glaze to around one quarter of an inch.
* WHERE...Portions of southwest Virginia, northwest North
Carolina and southeast West Virginia.
* WHEN...From Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Power outages and tree damage are likely
due to the ice. Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous
conditions could impact the morning and evening commutes.
That's Why It's Called a Floodplain! by National Committee for the New River
Latest Update: April 15, 2010
Along the New River this winter, many landowners saw and felt the results of major winter storms and extended periods of sub-freezing temperatures. In many areas, the river froze in layers of thick ice. Simultaneous events of moderating temperatures and heavy rain caused the river to rise and the ice to crack, forming huge ice floes. The rising waters carried the ice floes up onto the floodplain, the natural area for high-water levels to gravitate. You may remember seeing pictures of this phenomenon on Ray's Weather's Photo of the Day this winter.
Contrary to popular belief, flooding is a very good thing for the river to do. This winter the floodplains were doing the important work of allowing the water from snow melt, ice melt, and rain to flow up and out of the river banks, dispersing the energy of that tremendous amount of water entering the watershed. Floodplains hold large quantities of water, which slows the flow of water. They allow the sediment carried by the water to settle out on land where it is needed, instead of in the river. Native plants in the floodplain filter pollutants and chemicals from the water, improving water quality for both humans and wildlife. The water held on floodplains also allows the groundwater to recharge, keeping the water in the area to supply streams and wells.
In some cases, flood waters and ice damaged the vegetation along the river but the river banks themselves remain mostly unchanged. This is NOT the time to take advantage of cleared banks and start a lawn to the river. The shrubs, grasses, and trees on the river bank are the important riparian buffer that prevents erosion, absorbs pollutants in stormwater runoff, shades the river to keep it cool for fish, and provides food for wildlife, among other things.
Landowners should know that while the vegetation itself was sheared off or flattened, the root systems in most cases remain intact. Inaction is the best action as the root mass in the banks will send up new growth this spring for both grasses and wildflowers and the native shrubs.
Mother Nature has used this winter weather to remind us of the importance of floodplains and riparian buffers. All of the snow and ice has replenished the water tables and the flooding will provide nutrients and water for spring growth and rebirth. Just sit back and enjoy the show!