Drought watch in effect across the Shenandoah Valley

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 7:44 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2023 at 9:16 PM EDT
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SHENANDOAH VALLEY, Va. (WHSV) - The Shenandoah Valley is officially on drought watch. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality says precipitation maps have shown continued dryness in the area for at least two months.

Harrisonburg Fire Chief Matt Tobia believes the drought watch Is is a great way to keep people aware.

“I think DEQ is forecasting the possibility of a water shortage and is really signaling to people that while there is not an emergency right now, we’d really like to do everything possible to avoid that,” Chief Matt Tobia said.

A drought watch advisory is intended to increase awareness of conditions and help people prepare for a drought. Officials say rainfall has been less than normal for the last two weeks with little chance of a turnaround from predictions.

Preventing a drought starts with conserving water. Tobia said a little goes a long way with easy things like turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth.

“Believe it or not, every time we were to do that, we actually save between four and eight gallons of water. Over the course of a month, that’s hundreds of gallons of water that could be saved by the very simple action,” Chief Matt Tobia said.

Other suggestions from officials are to limit when the lawn is watered to early morning or evening — saying the water in the middle of the day gets evaporated.

While having less water may not sound like an emergency to some, the effects of a drought go beyond brown grass.

“The drier things get, the more potential there is for wildfires. The fact that it’s a drought watch only underscores how important that is,” Chief Matt Tobia said.

According to Tobia, the drought watch is the best time to stop advisories from getting worse. He finds the goal now is for people to be armed with information so they can help keep the drought watch from becoming a drought warning.


We have numerous links available on our website. If you download the WHSV weather app the drought update will come to your phone when it’s updated every Thursday morning.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality intends to keep people updated on drought status through its website.