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Drought continues to grow in Southside

Drought has worsened after one of the driest Junes on record
Well below average rainfall since the spring has prompted the first drought in years.
Well below average rainfall since the spring has prompted the first drought in years.(WDBJ Weather)
Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 4:45 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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Danville, VA (WDBJ) - After experiencing top ten—even record-setting—wet weather two of the past three years, Danville has had a rough go of it in 2021.

At the end of March, Danville sat comfortably a few inches above average on the year. However, since April 1, Danville has only received 3.00″ of rain. That is the driest the city has ever been during that stretch of time and nearly eight inches below what they should have seen.

Danville and other parts of Southside are not alone in their spring-into-summer dry spell. Areas like Roanoke and Blacksburg sit nearly four inches below average during the same stretch of time.

Well below average rainfall seen in Southside and other areas.
Well below average rainfall seen in Southside and other areas.(WDBJ Weather)

In the most recent update to the Drought Monitor (June 22), a number of areas were officially taken out of a drought thanks to rain this past month. Still, the story remains the same in Southside where many areas remain entrenched in a Moderate Drought (D1) and even have been added to it.

Stephen Barts, a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent based out of Pittsylvania County, says farmers in the county are in desperate need of a widespread and significant rainfall.

“Rainfall has been sporadic in both amount and frequency,” said Barts. “Crop conditions continue to suffer inadequate moisture, low humidity, and breezy conditions.”

Barts explained if this problem were to continue this summer, crops may suffer into the winter because of delayed growth and a heightened frost risk.

These problems aren’t likely to continue for the rest of this year. An active tropical season should increase our rainfall chances long-term. While Pittsylvania did experience a well below average spring, summer into fall will hopefully be more fruitful for suffering farmers and gardeners.

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