Richmond Travel Guide

Geography and climate

Richmond is located at (37.538, −77.462). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of, of which is land and of it (4.3%) is water. The city is located in the Piedmont region of Virginia, at the highest navigable point of the James River. The Piedmont region is characterized by relatively low, rolling hills, and lies between the low, sea level Tidewater region and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Significant bodies of water in the region include the James River, the Appomattox River, and the Chickahominy River.

The Richmond-Petersburg Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the 44th largest in the United States, includes the independent cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights, Hopewell, and Petersburg, as well as the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan, and Prince George., the total population of the Richmond—Petersburg MSA was 1,258,251.

Cityscape

Richmond's original street grid, laid out in 1737, included the area between what are now Broad, 17th, and 25th Streets and the James River. Modern Downtown Richmond is located slightly farther west, on the slopes of Shockoe Hill. Nearby neighborhoods include Shockoe Bottom, the historically significant and low-lying area between Shockoe Hill and Church Hill, and Monroe Ward, which contains the Jefferson Hotel. Richmond's East End includes neighborhoods like rapidly gentrifying Church Hill, home to St. John's Church, as well as poorer areas like Fulton, Union Hill, and Fairmont, and public housing projects like Mosby Court, Whitcomb Court, Fairfield Court, and Creighton Court closer to Interstate 64.

The area between Belvidere Street, Interstate 195, Interstate 95, and the river, which includes Virginia Commonwealth University, is socioeconomically and architecturally diverse. North of Broad Street, the Carver and Newtowne West neighborhoods are demographically similar to neighboring Jackson Ward, with Carver experiencing some gentrification due to its proximity to VCU. The affluent area between the Boulevard, Main Street, Broad Street, and VCU, known as the Fan, is home to Monument Avenue, an outstanding collection of Victorian architecture, and many students. West of the Boulevard is the Museum District, the location of the Virginia Historical Society and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. South of the Downtown Expressway are Byrd Park, Maymont, Hollywood Cemetery, the predominantly black working class Randolph neighborhood, and white working class Oregon Hill. Cary Street between Interstate 195 and the Boulevard is a popular commercial area called Carytown.

Richmond's Northside is home to numerous listed historic districts. Neighborhoods such as Chestnut Hill-Plateau and Barton Heights began to develop at the end of the 19th century when the new streetcar system made it possible for people to live on the outskirts of town and still commute to jobs downtown. Other prominent Northside neighborhoods include Azalea, Bellevue, Chamberlayne, Ginter Park, Highland Park, and Rosedale.

Further to the west is the affluent, suburban West End. The West End also includes middle to lower income neighborhoods, such as Dumbarton and Lakeside, which can be found directly north of the city, Laurel, Farmington and the areas surrounding the Regency Mall. More affluent areas include Glen Allen, Tuckahoe, and Short Pump, which can all be found north and northwest of the city. The University of Richmond and the Country Club of Virginia can be found here as well, which are located just inside the City Limits.

The portion of the city south of the James River is known as the Southside. Neighborhoods in the city's Southside area range from affluent and middle class suburban neighborhoods like Westover Hills, Forest Hill, Southampton, Stratford Hills, Oxford, Huguenot Hills, Hobby Hill, and Woodland Heights to the impoverished Manchester and Blackwell areas, the Hillside Court housing projects, and the ailing Jefferson Davis Highway commercial corridor. Other Southside neighborhoods include Fawnbrook, Broad Rock, Cherry Gardens, Cullenwood, and Beaufont Hills. Much of Southside developed a suburban character as part of Chesterfield County before being annexed by Richmond, most notably in 1970.

Climate

Richmond has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) typical of the American South, with hot and humid summers and generally mild winters. The mountains to the west act as a partial barrier to outbreaks of cold, continental air in winter; Arctic air is delayed long enough to be modified, then further warmed as it subsides in its approach to Richmond. The open waters of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean contribute to the humid summers and mild winters. The coldest weather normally occurs from late December to early February, and the January daily mean temperature is, with highs failing to breach the freezing mark on an average 6 days. Downtown areas straddle the border between USDA Hardiness zones 7B and 8A, and temperatures seldom lower to, with the most recent subzero (°F) reading occurring on January 28, 2000, when the temperature reached . The July daily mean temperature is, and high temperatures reach or exceed approximately 43 days out of the year; while temperatures are not uncommon, they do not occur every year. Extremes in temperature have ranged from on January 19, 1940 up to on August 6, 1918.

Precipitation is rather uniformly distributed throughout the year. However, dry periods lasting several weeks do occur, especially in autumn when long periods of pleasant, mild weather are most common. There is considerable variability in total monthly amounts from year to year so that no one month can be depended upon to be normal. Snow has been recorded during seven of the twelve months. Falls of or more with 24-hours occur an average once a year. Annual snowfall, however, is usually light averaging per season. Snow typically remains on the ground only one or two days at a time, but recently remained as much as 16 days (January 30 to February 14, 2010). Ice storms (freezing rain or glaze) are not uncommon, but they are seldom severe enough to do any considerable damage.

The James River reaches tidewater at Richmond where flooding may occur in every month of the year, most frequently in March and least in July. Hurricanes and tropical storms have been responsible for most of the flooding during the summer and early fall months. Hurricanes passing near Richmond have produced record rainfalls. In 1955, three hurricanes brought record rainfall to Richmond within a six-week period. The most noteworthy of these were Hurricane Connie and Hurricane Diane that brought heavy rains five days apart. And in 2004, the downtown area suffered extensive flood damage after the remnants of Hurricane Gaston dumped up to of rainfall.

Damaging storms occur mainly from snow and freezing rain in winter and from hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms in other seasons. Damage may be from wind, flooding, or rain, or from any combination of these. Tornadoes are infrequent but some notable occurrences have been observed within the Richmond area.

Based on the 1981–2010 period, the average first occurrence of at or below freezing temperatures in the fall is November 4 and the average last occurrence in the spring is April 5.

source: Wikipedia

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