While much of the US is in the midst of a scorching heatwave, there is only one state experiencing a widespread drought.

Every county in Virginia is either under drought watch or has been issued a warning for prepare for drier-than-normal conditions.

A major drought in the state, which is home to more than eight million Americans, threatens agriculture and water availability and could spark devastating wildfires.


Farms are specifically concerned about the issue, with many fearing they will see the first crop failure in 10 years.

Virginia has 41,500 farms in operation covering 7.7 million acres that primarily export corn, wheat and soybeans throughout the US – the state is the fifth largest producer of soybeans in the nation.

‘There are going to be crop failures down here this year and [it’s] something we haven’t seen in eight or 10 years,’ Robert Vaughn, the owner of Vaughn Farms Produce told 10Wavy News.

‘It’s been a dust bowl. I don’t dare plant the seed because it’s not going to come up.’

Virginia is not the only state with areas experiencing drought, as 10 percent of the lower 48 states are under some type of warning or watch.

But the southern state has experienced a decrease in rain this year, reporting just .68 inches of precipitation at Richmond Airport in June, a drop from the normal average of nearly three inches.

Although this number may not seem like a huge difference, the combination with soaring temperatures has quickly dried out the soil, creating a flash drought.

This type of drought is brought on rapidly, occurring when low precipitation, abnormally high temperatures, high winds, and/or radiation changes happen simultaneously.

‘These sometimes-rapid changes can quickly raise evapotranspiration rates and remove available water from the landscape,’ according to the National Integrated Drought Information System.

‘In the recent weeks, we’ve definitely not seen as much rain as we’d like to see,’ Brendon Rubin-Oster, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service told WTOP.

‘That sun’s pounding down on the ground soils — that definitely dries things out even more readily.’

The DEQ said stream flows – the flow of water in streams and other channels -across Virginia have dropped to the 25th percentile of normal values in 13 regions and groundwater levels have continued to decline in the northern, central and eastern portions of the state.

Declining groundwater levels and lower-than-normal stream flows made the drought warning necessary and were worsened by a combination of high temperatures and 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 reported.


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