Richmond: Geography and Climate

Richmond is located at the head of the navigable part of the James River between Virginia's coastal plains and the Piedmont, beyond which are the Blue Ridge Mountains. The open waters of Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the mountain barrier to the west are responsible for the region's warm, humid summers and generally mild winters. Precipitation, mostly in the form of rain, is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year, though dry spells lasting several weeks are especially common in the fall. Snow usually accumulates in amounts of less than four inches and remains on the ground only one or two days.

The James River occasionally floods low-lying areas, but the Richmond flood wall, completed in the 1990s, goes a long way toward minimizing damage in those areas. Hurricanes have been the cause of most flooding during the summer and fall, particularly Hurricanes Connie and Diane in 1955, Hurricane Camille in August 1969, Hurricane Agnes in June 1972, and Hurricane Isabel in September 2003. On August 31, 2004, flooding instigated by Tropical Storm Gaston devastated the historic Shockoe Bottom District which lies along the James River.

Area: 62.55 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from a few feet above sea level along the

James River to approximately 312 feet above sea level in the western parts of the city

Average Temperatures: January, 36.6° F; July, 77.9° F; annual average; 57.7° F;

Average Annual Precipitation: 43.13 inches of rainfall; 16.9 inches of snowfall