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. All regions except for southwest Virginia, the Middle Peninsula, and Tidewater are affected. Seven counties remain under a drought warning advisory. 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.
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.
The Eastern Shore remains under a drought watch advisory. The Eastern Shore received approximately 1.5-2 inches of rain Tuesday into Wednesday last week and another half inch on Sunday.
Groundwater levels are currently 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.