Virginia is under drought warning as farmers forecast first crop failures in 10 years

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By Creative Media News

  • Virginia faces widespread drought
  • Crops at risk, possible failures ahead
  • Severe heat and low rainfall continue

While most of the United States is enduring a searing heat wave, just one state suffers from widespread drought.

Every county in Virginia is on drought watch or has received a warning to prepare for drier-than-normal weather.

A severe drought in the state, home to more than eight million Americans, jeopardizes agricultural and water availability and might trigger disastrous wildfires.

Farms are particularly concerned about the issue, with many expecting the first crop failure in ten years.

Virginia has 41,500 farms operating on 7.7 million acres, principally exporting maize, wheat, and soybeans throughout the United States; the state is the sixth largest soybean producer in the US.

‘There will be crop failures down here this year, which we last saw eight or ten years ago,’ Robert Vaughn, owner of Vaughn Farms Produce, told 10Wavy News.

‘It has been a dust bowl. I don’t dare to sow the seed since it will not grow.

Virginia is not the only state experiencing drought; 10% of the lower 48 states are under a warning or watch.

However, the southern state has seen a decline in rainfall this year, with Richmond Airport reporting only. Sixty-eight inches of precipitation in June, compared to the annual average of around three inches.

Although this may not seem like a significant difference, the combination of high temperatures has quickly dried out the soil, resulting in a flash drought.

This type of drought develops quickly when low precipitation, excessively high temperatures, high winds, and radiation changes occur together.

The National Integrated Drought Information System states, “these sometimes-rapid changes can quickly raise evapotranspiration rates and remove available water from the landscape.”

‘We haven’t had as much rain as we’d like in recent weeks,’ Brendon Rubin-Oster, the National Weather Service’s lead forecaster, told WTOP.

‘That sun is slamming down on the ground soils, which undoubtedly dries everything out even more quickly.’

According to the DEQ, stream flows – water flow in streams and other channels – across Virginia have fallen to the 25th percentile of average values in 13 regions. At the same time, groundwater levels have continued to fall in the state’s northern, central, and eastern areas.

Declining groundwater levels and lower-than-normal stream flows necessitated the drought warning, exacerbated by high temperatures and a lack of rain in the region.

“Five regions are currently below the 25th percentile, including the Big Sandy, Northern Coastal Plain, Northern Piedmont, Upper James, and Southeast Virginia,” the DEQ noted.

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Rubin-Oster stated that Virginia would require many days of rainfall to break the drought, but it may quickly end with frequent thunderstorms. However, when this occurs, ‘a lot of the rain ends up as runoff because it comes down too swiftly at once.’

Virginians can reduce their water consumption by removing unnecessary flushing of water lines, turning off irrigation systems on lawns, golf courses, and sporting fields, and stopping washing hard surfaces such as roadways, sidewalks, and driveways.

The DEQ’s drought response plan also compels local governments and public water works to turn down ornamental fountains, artificial waterfalls, and misting systems.

This comes as 21 per cent of the United States population, or approximately 70.2 million people, is experiencing severe heat waves this week.

The heat index in Virginia alone will exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with temperatures reaching the mid-90s. Although thunderstorms are expected this weekend, forecasters warn that they could generate colossal hail, catastrophic wind gusts, and rare tornadoes.

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