Thursday, February 17, 2011

Drought Conditions Worsen in Virginia

As we continue to fall behind for our year-to-date precipitation this month, drought conditions are expanding eastward in central Virginia. Now everywhere along I-95 is included in Moderate Drought, the first level of drought. 65% of the Commonwealth is now officially considered to be in a drought, up from 57% percent at the report a week ago.

Here is how Richmond compares for our year-to-date precipitation with the normal and last year:

Also, the eastern Peninsulas are now considered to be "Abnormally Dry" after another week without any significant precipitation. This does not bode well for the continued high fire danger expected through Saturday in the state. A dry cold front will pass through the Commonwealth overnight Friday into early Saturday, generating gusty winds around 35 mph (both Friday and Saturday afternoons) and reinforcing the dry air mass. The worst day for fire danger should be Saturday, when very low relative humidity will combine with strong west-northwesterly winds. These are the three critical fire danger factors that are a result of the weather, and that we pay close attention to during a day that meets these three criteria: