The October 16, 2012, U.S. Drought Monitor (available at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) rated as at least “abnormally dry” about 37 percent of Virginia (basically all of the Piedmont, plus the northern part of the Coastal Plain, and the northern part of Accomack County); and it rated 8 percent of the Commonwealth in “moderate drought” (the lower Potomac basin and an area of central Virginia in the Appomattox River basin). (The Drought Monitor notes that it “focuses on broad-scale conditions, and local conditions may vary.” See rating categories below.) This compared to the following percentages over the past six months:
54 percent abnormally dry and 14 percent in moderate drought in mid-September;
70 percent abnormally dry and 16 percent in moderate drought in mid-August;
89 percent abnormally dry and 16 percent in moderate drought in mid-July;
18 percent abnormally dry in mid-June; and
54 percent abnormally dry in mid-May.
At this time last year (week of October 18, 2011), about 0.2 percent of Virginia was rated as abnormally dry. The current Virginia drought map and a link to archived maps are available at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state.htm?VA,SE.
The Drought Monitor’s categories, from mildest to most severe, are as follows:
D0 = Abnormally Dry
D1 = Moderate Drought
D2 = Severe Drought
D3 = Extreme Drought
D4 = Exceptional Drought
The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent Drought Status Report on October 5, 2012. The report includes information from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Virginia departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Health, Forestry, and Environmental Quality. That report and other current drought-status information are available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx. As of October 19, 2012, a Drought Watch Advisory remained in effect for the Roanoke River Drought Evaluation Region, and the Drought Watch Advisory that was previously issued for the Northern Piedmont Drought Evaluation Region had been lifted.
Elsewhere in the United States, the October 16 Drought Monitor categorized over 67 percent of the country as at least abnormally dry (combined categories D0-D4), and over 32 percent in at least severe drought (combined categories D2-D4) (in both cases, a slight improvement since mid-September 2012). As as true in mid-September, 13 states—listed below—had at least 50 percent of their area rated in at least D2 (the percentage rated in the combined D2-D4 is shown), and seven states had at least 50 percent of their area in extreme or exceptional drought (D3-D4). Note the particularly serious situation in Nebraska.
AR = 73% in severe/extreme/exceptional
CO = 91% in severe/extreme/exceptional; 51% in extreme/exceptional
IA = 95% in severe/extreme/exceptional; 64% in extreme/exceptional
KS = 100% in severe/extreme/exceptional; 78% in extreme/exceptional
MO = 52% in severe/extreme/exceptional
ND = 50% in severe/extreme/exeptional
NE = 100% in severe/extreme/exceptional; 95% in extreme/exceptional (with 78% in exceptional)
NV = 55% in severe/extreme/exceptional
NM = 67% in severe/extreme/exceptional
OK = 99% in severe/extreme/exceptional; 67% in extreme/exceptional
SD = 92% in severe/extreme/exceptional; 54% in extreme/exceptional
UT = 80% in severe/extreme/exceptional
WY = 86% in severe/extreme/exceptional; 57% in extreme/exceptional
As of October 19, the National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center’s “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook” for the next 90 days (available at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/seasonal_drought.html), predicts “persistence” for the drought over much of the western half of the United States with “some improvement” in Texas, southern Oklahoma, and parts of the Ohio and Mississippi river basins.
For previous Virginia Water Central News Grouper mid-month drought reports during the current year, please click the following links: