West Virginia officials are working with locals about ongoing drought

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – Worsening drought conditions has the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) working with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), the National Weather Service, and county emergency management and local response agencies to ensure a coordinated response.

During today’s weather briefing, the Charleston National Weather Service informed emergency managers that drought conditions throughout southern West Virginia had reached the D1 (Moderate Drought) level, and are spreading northward toward the Kanawha Valley.

This D1(Moderate Drought) designation means that streams, reservoirs, and wells will run low and water shortages are developing or imminent.

In the past few days, county emergency management agencies in the southern part of the state began receiving calls from farmers regarding water for livestock. The county emergency managers notified DHSEM and are addressing these issues through assistance from local response agencies. As of today, DHSEM has received no formal request for assistance from any county or municipality but are prepared to respond should the need arise.

In addition to low-water concerns, afternoon breezes and low humidity increase the threat of wildfires. Vegetation has become very dry, providing fuel for wildfires to spread quickly.

“With dry weather and temperatures predicted to be above normal through next week, we want West Virginians to stay safe by following Governor Justice’s proclamation banning outdoor burning and listening to safety officials,” said DHSEM Director Michael Todorovich. “Following these directions could save your home, your life and the lives of your family.”

If you need emergency assistance due to drought conditions, contact your county Office of Emergency Services or the DHSEM Watch Center, staffed 24-hours per day, at 304-558-5380.

View Governor Justice’s proclamation here: https://bit.ly/2nNVgTF

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Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com