To get an inch or two of rain from a summer thunderstorm is a relatively common occurrence here in central Virginia. To get upwards of half a foot of rain from a summer thunderstorm is a completely different matter - but this is what happened to people in Culpeper County on Saturday evening.
Shortly before sunset, light rain showers began developing in and around Culpeper as a slow-moving batch of thunderstorms approached. The rain got heavier and heavier until downpours were occurring, especially along and east of Route 29 in Culpeper County. Observations from the Culpeper Couty Airport reveal some staggering numbers. At times, the rain was coming down at a rate of 2-4 inches per hour. This went on for several hours as the storms didn't move very quickly and they kept redeveloping and moving over the same areas. This is a feature meteorologists call "training" and it can lead to flash flooding concerns. After the final raindrops fell, parts of the county were drenched with as much as 7-8 inches of rain. That's nearly the amount of rain that would be expected over the course of two months! There were reports of water rescues and flash flooding as a result of the inundation of water.
Of course all of that water had to go somewhere and as it flowed into the area rivers, it caught some downstream communities by surprise. There were reports from Fredericksburg that the Rappahannock River rose so quickly on Sunday afternoon that some had to be rescued from the rushing waters. Another reminder of just how damaging and destructive flooding can be - and how suddenly it can happen.
For those who were directly affected by this, what did you observe? Leave your comments at the bottom of this blog!