Drought Relief

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Gov. Mark Warner is seeking drought disaster designations for 23 Virginia counties.

The federal designation would make available low-interest loans to farmers hit hard by the drought.

The Warner request is in addition to 10 Virginia counties that already have been designated primary disaster areas by the U-S Department of Agriculture. Thirty-eight contiguous counties have been approved for federal assistance.

Warner says the agricultural aid is "sorely needed" for farmers who have suffered through a bone-dry growing season.

Warner is seeking assistance for the following counties: Appomattox, August, Botetourt, Buckingham, Caroline, Craig, Cumberland, Goochland, Greene, Hanover, King George, Lunenburg, Madison, Mecklenburg, Nelson, New Kent, Nottoway, Page, Powhatan,
Prince William, Rockingham, Suffolk and Westmoreland.

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Drought Facts

  • A drought is a period of abnormally dry weather, which persists long enough to produce a serious hydrologic imbalance (for example crop damage, water supply shortage, etc.)

  • The severity of the drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration and the size of the affected area.

  • There are four different ways that drought can be defined:
    • Meteorological - a measure of departure of precipitation from normal. Due to climatic differences what is considered a drought in one location may not be a drought in another location.
    • Agricultural - refers to a situation when the amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular crop
    • Hydrological - occurs when surface and subsurface water supplies are below normal.
    • Socioeconomic - refers to the situation that occurs when physical water shortage begins to affect people.

  • The Dust Bowl days of the 1930's affected 50 million acres of land, rendering the farmers helpless.

  • In the 1950's, the Great Plains suffered a severe water shortage when several years went by with rainfall well below normal.

  • The worst drought in 50 years affected at least 35 states during the long hot summer of 1988.

  • In 1988, rainfall totals over the mid-west, Northern Plains and the Rockies were 50 percent to 85 percent below normal.

  • During the great drought of 1988, Governor Guy Hunt of Alabama led a statewide prayer for rain. It came the very next day, and the thunderstorms continued for weeks.

Source: www.nws.noaa.gov (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) contributed to this report


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