Drought conditions persist locally & nationally

Posted at 8:08 AM, Aug 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-17 08:23:21-04

The prolonged period of mostly dry weather continues across much of the country.  Although rainfall occasionally occurs, it has not be heavy enough to alleviate the drought.

The United States has abnormally dry conditions or worse across 70% of the country, which includes at least portions of just about every state.  Of that, 52% of the country is under moderate drought, 38% is in severe drought, 20% is in extreme drought, and 5% is in exceptional drought conditions.

Locally, 70% of Virginia is abnormally dry.  Of that, about 20% of the state is in moderate drought.  This includes areas just south & southwest of Richmond — including Lake Chesdin & Petersburg — and much of northern Virginia.

The abnormally dry areas are running 3 to 6 inches below the normal yearly rainfall, and the moderate drought areas are anywhere from 6 to over 10 inches below normal for the year.

Some occasional showers and storms are possible through the weekend into Monday, but the rains will not be widespread enough to provide any significant relief to much of the drought area.

In the summer, due to the sun angle and evaporation, we lose about 1 to 1.5 inches of water from the soil each week.  So, if we do not see any decent rainfall for a week or two, the deficits get much worse very quickly.