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County now ‘abnormally dry’

7-15-14 drought indexBy MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

In less than a few weeks’ time, Pulaski County has moved from normal to “abnormally dry” on the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM).

In early July, a few counties in far Southwest Virginia were classified as abnormally dry or in moderate drought. However, as of July 15, all counties from the tip of Southwest Virginia to Giles, Montgomery, Franklin and Pittsylvania counties are considered to be abnormally dry. A few counties south of Richmond and the northern tip of the peninsula also are abnormally dry.

The total area of the state experiencing abnormally dry conditions as of July 15 was 28.28 percent, compared to 0 percent three months ago.

According to the USDM, abnormally dry means the area is “going into drought,” with planting, crop growth and pasture development slowing.

“Fortunately, excessive heat has not been a problem (yet) in the Southeast as temperatures have been close to normal the past 3 weeks,” states the USDM summary for the Southeast section of the nation, which includes Virginia. “This has kept conditions from rapidly expanding and worsening during the growing season.”

Despite the fact “hit and miss” showers have Pulaski County creeping toward drought, Pulaski Town Manager Shawn Utt said there presently are no concerns about the town’s water supply.

Utt visited Gatewood Reservoir a little over a week ago and the level was down only about a foot so, he said, “we don’t have any concerns” at this point.

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