The weekly National Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) for November 15, 2016, showed about 0.1% of Virginia in “extreme drought,” and by the November 22 report, the percentage had increased to about 0.9% of the Commonwealth. The area covered was in Lee County, Virginia’s most southwestern county. The report on November 15 was the first Drought Monitor indication of extreme drought in Virginia since the weekly report of September 28, 2010. The November 22 report also showed about 69% of Virginia as “abnormally dry,” about 28% in “moderate drought,” and about 5% in “severe 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 22, 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. For more on that situation, please see the Water Central News Grouper post, Drought in Atlanta, Ga., and Other Parts of the Southeast in 2016.
Back in Virginia, the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent (as of Nov. 28, 2016) 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 28, 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 and for groundwater in two areas. Any given day’s current map and more information on drought status in Virginia are available the Task Force Web site listed above.