West Virginia Drought of 2019


Did your lawn end the summer looking like this one?

Alison Carr, Staff Writer

If you haven’t noticed, until recently the southern part of West Virginia hadn’t had a good rain in a very long time. According to  website drought.gov, there are currently 883,000 residents in WV located in a drought area, and 938,000 more in an area that is abnormally dry.

Statewide, over the last 90 days, West Virginia experienced 2-5 fewer inches of rainfall than normal. The animals were affected, as well. A local in Lewisburg said, “I had to set water out multiple times a week for the deer and the squirrels so they had something to drink.” They started running out of water and were drinking out of birdbaths, and other sources of water they would not normally drink out of. Further, isolated places such as Huntington had received only 1/10 of an inch of rain, triggering a restriction of water used for dust control at construction and industrial sites, as well as monitoring of existing water sources for contaminants.

On October 4th, Governor Jim Justice declared a statewide emergency following the September 20th ban on outdoor burning. The governor directed state officials to implement the West Virginia Emergency Operations Plan as it relates to drought emergency response, and place the state Emergency Operations Center in a stand-by status. He also issued voluntary guidelines for the residents of WV to cease non-agricultural irrigation in the state, limit washing or cleaning vehicles, and cease the filling of private swimming pools. 

As of this writing, our state is finally in drought recovery, and the gubernatorial emergency plan has expired.