A drought watch advisory remains in effect for Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Arlington, and Fairfax counties, and the state on Monday expanded that advisory to include Stafford County.
In total, 55 Virginia counties are on the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s drought watch advisory. The state added 42 counties to the list, including Stafford and Spotsylvania.
A drought watch advisory is issued to increase awareness that a drought may occur.
While the recent rains brought Northern Virginia some short-term relief, it was not enough to lift the drought watch advisory that’s been in place since the end of August.
“All Virginians are encouraged to protect water supplies by minimizing water use, monitor drought conditions, and detect and repair leaks,” a news release from the DEQ said.
The addition of more Virginia counties and the extension of the existing advisory came after the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force met on November 21.
“Indicators have shown no or minimal improvements throughout the past 21-day period with declines of surface water, groundwater, and precipitation indicators observed across the majority of the Commonwealth,” the task force said.
Stream flows in three regions, including Northern Virginia, are within “emergency” status. Ground water levels in monitoring wells also are very low. “Three of 11 drought evaluation regions are currently below the 5th percentile including the Northern Virginia, Shenandoah, and Roanoke,” the task force report said.
In the Shenandoah area, a drought warning advisory remains in place. It’s been in place since the end of summer. A warning means a drought is imminent. the drought warning area includes Augusta, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Frederick, Page, Warren, and Clarke counties.
The task force plans to continue its monitoring and will meet again December 5.
Feature image of drought advisory map courtesy Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
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