Virginia drought indicators and key to drought map: Precipitation (Prcp); Groundwater Levels (GW); Streamflow (Flow); Reservoir Levels (Res)


RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), in coordination with the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, has expanded a drought watch advisory to include 55 counties, an expansion of 42 counties from the previous advisory, according to a press release.

Seven counties remain under a drought warning advisory. All regions except for southwest Virginia, the Middle Peninsula, and Tidewater are affected. While recent rain has helped alleviate dry conditions for the short term, it has not been sufficient to overcome the deficits observed in soil moisture, streamflow and groundwater levels, said the DEQ.

Virginia drought indicators and key to drought map: Precipitation (Prcp); Groundwater Levels (GW); Streamflow (Flow); Reservoir Levels (Res)Virginia drought indicators and key to drought map: Precipitation (Prcp); Groundwater Levels (GW); Streamflow (Flow); Reservoir Levels (Res)

Virginia drought indicators and key to drought map: Precipitation (Prcp); Groundwater Levels (GW); Streamflow (Flow); Reservoir Levels (Res)

A drought warning advisory indicates a significant drought is imminent and remains in effect for the Shenandoah region, which includes Augusta, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Frederick, Page, Warren, and Clarke counties.

A drought watch advisory is intended to help Virginians prepare for a potential drought and has been declared for the following areas:

  • Middle James: Amherst, Lynchburg, Nelson, Albemarle, Appomattox, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Prince Edward, Cumberland, Goochland, Amelia, Powhatan, Chesterfield, Petersburg, Hopewell, Colonial Heights, Henrico, and Hanover counties

  • Northern Piedmont: Greene, Madison, Rappahannock, Orange, Culpeper, Louisa, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties  Roanoke River: Patrick, Franklin, Roanoke, Henry, Bedford, Pittsylvania, Campbell, Halifax, Charlotte, and Mecklenburg counties

  • Upper James: Craig, Alleghany, Bath, Highland, Botetourt, and Rockbridge counties

A drought watch advisory remains in effect for the following areas:

  • Eastern Shore: Accomack and Northampton counties

  • Northern Virginia: Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Arlington, and Fairfax counties York-James: Hampton, Newport News, James City, York, Charles City, and New Kent counties

Augusta County designated Drought Disaster Area by USDA

Augusta County has recently been designated as a drought disaster area by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Livestock producers may qualify for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. Augusta County farmers affected by the drought are eligible to apply for Farm Service Agency (FSA) assistance, including emergency loans, to help mitigate the challenges posed by the ongoing drought.

Farmers interested in learning more about the Livestock Forage Disaster Program should contact the Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Verona at 70 Dick Huff Lane at 540-248-6218. Farmers will need to have up-to-date acreage reports along with some additional reporting requirements to qualify for the program.

Factors contributing to the current drought watch and warning advisories:

  • Stream flows across Virginia are below the 25th percentile of normal values and less than the 5th percentile in the Shenandoah, Northern Piedmont and Northern Virginia regions.

  • Groundwater levels are currently below the 10th percentile in Northern Virginia, Shenandoah, and Roanoke River, and below the 25th percentile in the Eastern Shore, Big Sandy, Middle James, Northern Piedmont and York-James regions.

DEQ is working with local governments, public water works and water users in the affected areas to ensure that conservation and drought response plans and ordinances are followed. All Virginians are encouraged to protect water supplies by minimizing water use, monitor drought conditions, and detect and repair leaks. See the current drought status on the DEQ website.

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This article originally appeared on Staunton News Leader: Drought: Augusta County a Drought Disaster Area by USDA



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