Water tables rely on rain from hurricanes

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - While many people are wishing for the hurricane season to go away, these storms actually benefit Central Virginia every year.

When we think of hurricanes, we think of devastating wind damage and major flooding.  But every year these storms come at a crucial time for us in Virginia. In 2008, Hurricane Hanna gave us just what we needed.

"Hanna made landfall south of Virginia in South Carolina and North Carolina region and came up north and produced very little wind but produced between 2 and 5 inches of rain at a time when we really needed it," said Bill Sammler with the National Weather Service in Wakefield.

The peak of hurricane season occurs at a time when our water levels are naturally lower.  This year is a great example. This summer's hot, dry weather was devastating to farmers in our region.  This withered corn crop shows that rain is needed, and this time of year can be dry without tropical moisture.

Even just a few inches of tropical rain can be a big help in September and October,  replenishing our water tables. But that doesn't always happen.

Sammler says La Nina is developing, and most of the time, that means a warmer and drier than average winter for us.

"Going forward, I think it could problematic if we don't get at least a little bit of tropical rainfall," he said. "Next spring, we could have problems water wise that might be more than just agricultural."

Of course we don't want a direct hit from a hurricane. The best scenario would be a storm making landfall far away then raining itself out over Central Virginia.

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