Virginia governor issues drought watch for entire state

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Worsening dry conditions affecting Virginia have prompted Gov. Ralph Northam to place the state under a drought watch.

The watch issued Friday advises residents, local governments and businesses to use less water. It is meant to get people ready in the event of "a significant drought event."

The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor report shows nearly 56 million residents are now living in drought conditions in parts of 16 Southern states, including Virginia.

The drought has ravaged the pastures where cattle and other livestock feed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's most recent crop report showed that 71% of those fields in Virginia are in poor or very poor shape.

Northam in a statement said more than half of the state is "experiencing a water deficit" that could have lasting impacts.