Southern drought creeping northward

Natural Disasters Posted on

The drought that has plagued the Deep South for more than a year is creeping northward, and officials in multiple states are restricting outdoor burning in the face of water shortages and forest fire risks from falling leaves and tinder-dry conditions.

Extreme drought conditions, the second-worst possible, have now spread into Kentucky, and severe conditions have returned to West Virginia and southwest Virginia, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

"The last three months have sucked every bit of moisture we've had," said Ben Webster, a fire staff assistant for the West Virginia Division of Forestry.

In eastern Kentucky, retailers are sending bottled water to drought-stricken Magoffin County after its primary water source, the Licking River, fell to low levels and residents were told to conserve tap water.

The county's school system is serving meals on disposable plates with plastic utensils. Lunch trays have been temporarily shelved to save on dishwashing.

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