Hot and rainless days send Northern Va. into drought warning

Most of Northern Virginia is now under a drought warning after several weeks of heat and little rainfall. Officials are urging residents from unnecessarily using water.

On Monday, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality declared the entire state was in a drought watch, and several counties in Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah area were under a drought warning.

In the D.C. area, Loudoun, Prince William, Arlington and Fairfax counties were all affected by the warning, which “indicates a significant drought is imminent,” according to a news release from the department.

The heat wave and cloudless days of sunshine have really dried out the soil, according to Brendon Rubin-Oster, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service.

“In the recent weeks, we’ve definitely not seen as much rain as we’d like to see,” Rubin-Oster told WTOP.

He added, “That sun’s pounding down on the ground soils — that definitely dries things out even more readily.”

Summer droughts can often end quickly with frequent thunderstorms, like what the D.C. area may see Wednesday and over the weekend.

But Rubin-Oster said the region will likely need several days of rain to get out of this drought.

“A lot of the rain ends up as runoff because it comes down too quickly at once.”

Rubin-Oster said that forecasters will become more concerned about drought conditions if they stretch into the drier fall months when we see fewer thunderstorms.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality encouraged Virginians to minimize their water use, keep an eye on drought conditions and detect and repair leaks in its Monday release.

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Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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