The National Weather Service has canceled its earlier flood warning for points along the James River, including Buchanan in northern Botetourt County. Forecasters had expected more rain than actually fell, and river levels are no longer expected to reach flood stage on the James. As this case demonstrates, forecasting experts say it is difficult to be precise with river level predictions. More from News/Talk 960’s Evan Jones.
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The Weather Service issued the initial flood warning for the Buchanan area yesterday morning, before most of the latest rains arrived. And speaking with us yesterday, Peter Corrigan, a Weather Service hydrologist in Blacksburg, says that’s the tricky part — issuing such warnings before most of the expect rainfall has actually occurred. Making things more challenging: even if they know heavy rain is approaching the region, it can hit some area river basins much harder than others. Another variable not always easy to measure is exactly how much moisture is already in the soil — and how that will affect runoff into the rivers. Corrigan says forecasting high water marks is improving, but slowly.