Every week, meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) assess rainfall and moisture levels across the country and release a product called the Drought Monitor. This product highlights which areas in the country are currently in the midst of a drought and also attempts to forecast when conditions are expected to improve or worsen. Areas that are experiencing drought conditions are assigned a category, based on the severity of the situation.
The drought categories are as follows:
D0 – Abnormally Dry
D1 – Moderate Drought
D2 – Severe Drought
D3 – Extreme Drought
D4 – Exceptional Drought
Right now, areas from Charlottesville points north and east are in level D2 drought. This correlates to a general yearly rainfall deficit of 8 – 12” in that area. The latest drought monitor was released Thursday morning and didn't show much change from the week before. With only slim chances of rain in the forecast for the weekend, don't expect big improvements over the next week. Without a soaking rain event across the entire area, we will be closing in on D3 drought by next week, which is classified as extreme. This level of drought hasn't occurred in our area over the past few years.
That being said, it's always a good idea to conserve water before the conditions get any worse. Are you doing anything differently to help out water-wise? If so, what are you doing? Until then, we'll keep our fingers crossed that a decent rainfall isn't far away, although the long range models are keeping our forecast rather dry for the next ten days.
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