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Geography of Virginia

Virginia is a southern state located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the 35th largest state of America. The state is geographically divided into five regions.
General Features

Virginia is bordered by Maryland and Washington DC to the north and east, Atlantic Ocean to the east, North Carolina and Tennessee to the south, Kentucky to the west and West Virginia to the north and west. The state can be divided into five geographical regions: the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, the Blue Ridge, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region and the Appalachian Plateau.

  • Atlantic Coastal Plain: The Atlantic Coastal plain stretches from the fall zone eastward to the Atlantic Ocean. It is usually covered with salt marshes and swamps. It is also known as the Tidewater because the water flowing in the bay and inlets forms a tidal movement. The plain is divided into a mainland in the west and a peninsula, known as East Shore, by Chesapeake Bay.

  • Piedmont: Piedmont lies to the west of Atlantic Coastal Plain. It is the largest geographical land of the state. The name "Piedmont" is a French word which roughly translates as "pied" (foot) and "mont"(hill). The topography of this region is characterized by low, rolling hills. The rivers and streams in this region flow in southeasterly direction and break into waterfalls at the "fall line".

  • Blue Ridge: Blue Ridge mountains lie to the west of Piedmont. The range rises sharply from the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region in the west and Piedmont in the east. It is the main eastern mountain range of the Appalachian Mountains. The highest point in Virginia, Mount Rogers, is located in the Blue Ridge.

  • Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region: The Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region stretch from southwest to the northeast along Virginia's western border. The valley region, also known as the Great Valley or the Valley of Virginia, lies against the Blue Ridge in the east. It is a series of valleys which are divided by mountains. Shenandoah Valley is the largest and the most popular valley.

  • Appalachian Plateau: Appalachian Plateau lies in the far southwestern portion of Virginia. In Kentucky it is called the Cumberland Plateau. The topography of this region is characterized by rivers, streams, and forests.

Area42,769 square miles
Land Area39,598 square miles
Water Area3,171 square miles
Highest point5,729 feet above sea level, Mount Rogers
Lowest pointAtlantic ocean
Highest temperature110 degrees Fahrenheit
Lowest temperature-30 degrees Fahrenheit
Geographic CenterBuckingham County

Climate
The climate of Virginia varies because of the contrasting geography present in the state. The temperatures vary from average lows of 26 degree Fahrenheit to average highs of 86 degree Fahrenheit. It has an annual rainfall of 42.7 inches. During the winters, snowfall and blizzards occur due to the cold air masses arriving over the mountains. The coastal area of Virginia is vulnerable to hurricanes. The state averages seven tornadoes annually.

Rivers
The major rivers of the state are James River, Rappahannock River, Potomac River and Shenandoah River. James River is 348 miles long and is the twelfth-longest river in the United States.

Lakes
Major lakes of the state are Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Lake Moomaw, Pound Lake and Philpott Lake. Lake Moomaw is named after Benjamin Moomaw, a local businessman who was a promoter of the Gathright Dam project, from which the lake is formed.

Mountains
Mount Rogers is the highest point in the state. Other important mountains in the state are:

Mount Rogers (5,729 feet)
Whitetop Mountain (5,525 feet)
Pine Mountain ( 5,525 feet)
Haw Orchard Mountain (5,007 feet)