July 17, 2013
During the first week of July, 8.4 inches of rain fell on Ashe County, damaging homes and washing out roads.
Ashe County Emergency Services Manager Patty Gambill said that “a couple of houses” had seen structural damage during the recent deluge, and that the DOT had reported “quite a bit of road damage.”
The damage was not significant enough to qualify for FEMA or state emergency aid, Gambill said.
Damaged roads included Silas Creek Road and Chestnut Hill Road, said DOT County Maintenance Engineer Randal Miles.
July 6, a section of Silas Creek Road developed a large crack approximately 100 feet long as the road bed began sliding into the New River. The road was closed to through traffic Monday, and the damaged section of road had been cut out by DOT crews.
A similar but less severe “slide out” occurred on Chestnut Hill Road, Miles said.
DOT crews have been working overtime repairing road damage around the county, he said.
Wettest year on record?
More rain fell on Ashe County in the first week of July than in the entire month of June, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist William Perry of the Blacksburg, Va., forecast office.
So far, the first six months of 2013, have been the wettest first half of any year in Ashe County history, Perry said.
From Jan. 1 to July 7, the county registered 48.5 inches of rain, the most rain for that period during any calendar year since records for the county began in 1896, Perry said. Twelve inches of rain fell in January alone.
From 1896 until now, Ashe has averaged just under 47 inches per year. So much rain fell during the first six months of 2013, Perry said, that the county would have to see no more rain until Halloween to register something like a normal year.
The last time Ashe County saw similar rainfall was 1993, when 46.6 inches fell during the first six months of the year.
The wettest full year on record was 1979, with 64.7 inches., followed by 2003 with 61 inches, and 1983 with 60.8 inches.
Consistent meteorological records for the county didn’t begin until 1910, and some data is missing from earlier records, making any year’s “wettest” claim based on official records “unofficial,” Perry said.