Drought Monitor update - Spreading into the NRV

Dry weather is spread through most of the state

More and more pictures of spreading smoke are coming in to us from Pin It

ROANOKE, Va. – Each Thursday marks the release of a new Drought Monitor update, and this week’s is particularly important given the spread of the Matt’s Creek fire.

Dry conditions are spreading north into the NRV and staying steady in our northeast

The severe and extreme droughts in parts of the Highlands and Lynchburg zones are still in place and spreading further south. Additionally, the severe drought in North Carolina spread up into the southern counties of the NRV.

While almost all of Virginia is in some level of drought more than five percent of the people are in an extreme drought

With this week’s update almost all of the state from the Cumberland Gap to the Delmarva is at least abnormally dry. Two-thirds of the state’s population are in a drought, and more than five percent of us are in the extreme drought.

Less than a tenth of an inch of rain fell in the first half of the month

Rain is having a tough time reaching us this month. One showery day brought a few hundredths of an inch, but we would need almost three inches to get back on track by the end of the month. To get back to where we should be by this time of year we would need around nine more inches of rain.

Rain has been lacking not only this month but consistently since August

July was the last time rain amounts were above average in a month. August and October fell well below average. Even September was more than an inch below an average year. The long stretch of lacking rain primed us for drought which in turn promotes fire risk as we get late into the fall.

The dry conditions will make the wildfire risk worse in the coming days

Our Weather Authority Alert Day on Thursday is in effect due to the spreading smoke and fire itself from the Matt’s Creek fire. Dry ground and plenty of fuel in the form of new leaves on the ground mean this fire will spread consistently until fire crews can get it under control. Some rain would help, but we don’t get much relief until next week.

Friday's rain will help slightly reduce the risk, but next week's rain helps even more

Friday sends some showers our way, but those amounts are rather light. Next Tuesday brings a stronger system; if it brings enough rain that will help keep our fire risk much lower through Thanksgiving.

About the Author:

Marshall Downing presents the weather Saturday and Sunday evenings at 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM, and you can see him during the week at 12:00 PM and 5:30 PM.