Virginia experiences 9th driest November; what to expect in December

If you’re in Virginia, you may have noticed that umbrella hasn’t gotten much use lately. The state is coming out of one of its driest months on record and that may continue through much of December.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest monthly climate summary, last month was Virginia’s ninth driest November since it began keeping track in 1895.



Richmond saw less than an inch of rain — just 20% of its average rainfall. Charlottesville and Roanoke both saw a total rainfall of just under one inch.

Brad Pugh, a meteorologist with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said the weather pattern has been caused by La Niña, which is characterized as below-average sea surface temperatures across parts of the Pacific Ocean.

“That can lead to drier patterns across the southern part of the U.S. At times, that dryness can creep up the East Coast into the southern mid-Atlantic states,” he said.

Pugh said the pattern could be unfavorable to the chances of any snowfall for Christmas, but he isn’t ruling it out just yet.

“Later in December, the pattern may change to become a little wetter,” Pugh said.

Other states have experienced similar periods of drought, including parts of the Carolinas. It’s been a trend nationwide for the month of November, with only two states having wet months: Washington and Florida.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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