The weekly National Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) for November 8, 2016, showed about 0.8% of Virginia in “severe drought.” The area covered was in the far southwestern corner in Lee County. This was the first Drought Monitor indication of severe drought in Virginia since the weekly report of September 4, 2012. The November 1 reports also showed about 41% of Virginia as “abnormally dry” and about 5% in “moderate drought.”
Drought Monitor categories are as follows:
D0 = abnormally dry;
D1 = moderate drought;
D2 = severe drought;
D3 = extreme drought;
D4 = exceptional drought.
The Drought Monitor notes that it “focuses on broad-scale conditions [and] local conditions may vary.”
Below is the Drought Monitor’s Virginia map and statistics table for November 8, 2016.
The small area of severe drought in southwestern Virginia is on the northern edge of a much larger area of severe (or worse) drought in the southeastern United States, centered over Alabama and Georgia, including the Atlanta area. That region has had areas categorized by the Drought Monitor as in severe (or worse) drought since the week of May 31, 2016. The southeastern drought region is shown below in the Drought Monitor’s nationwide map and statistics chart for November 8, 2016.
Back in Virginia, the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent (as of 10/31/16) Drought Status Report on October 17, 2016. A link to the report, along with other current drought-status information, is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx. The Drought Monitoring Task Force also produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators. Shown below is daily map for November 10, 2016. The status-indicator abbreviations on that map are as follows: GW = groundwater levels, Prcp = precipitation deficits, Res – reservoir storage, and Flow = stream flow conditions. For each region of Virginia, the indicators are color coded for “normal,” “watch,” “warning,” or “emergency conditions.” Note the “warning” or “emergency” indicators for precipitation in several areas of the Commonwealth. Any given day’s current map and more information on drought status in Virginia are available the Task Force Web site listed above.