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Archive photos: Do you remember Virginia's biggest weather events of the 1980s?

Archive photos: Do you remember Virginia's biggest weather events of the 1980s?

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The 1980s: it was the first decade of around-the-clock weather on television, and the last time the heart of Richmond wasn't protected by a floodwall.

All throughout the decade, Times-Dispatch and News Leader photographers were there to chronicle Virginia's big weather stories. Now, we bring you several recently scanned photos that haven't been published since they originally appeared in print.

Twelve 'billion-dollar disasters' affected Virginia during that decade, according to NOAA. 

One wild year in particular – 1985 – saw rivers surge to heights and thermometers plummet to lows not rivaled since.

Hurricanes never landed a direct blow here, but several threatened to. All told, 55 tornadoes struck the commonwealth in the 1980s.

Oh, and we had lots of snow, too.

Global warming started to get more news coverage in the 1980s, though its major consequences had yet to manifest.

The global concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide is now about 23% higher than in 1980. In Virginia, average temperatures have risen by about 2 to 3 degrees (Fahrenheit) over the past 40 years, while the mean sea level along our coast has trended up by several inches.

Event details in this gallery come from archived news stories and official National Weather Service storm reports.



John Boyer is the first staff meteorologist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He joined the RTD newsroom in November 2016. Boyer earned his degree in meteorology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

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