The town of Bedford and parts of Amherst and Bedford counties now are experiencing "severe drought" conditions, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday.
Under severe drought conditions, the hay supply is low, producers are feeding livestock supplemental hay and baling corn for feed, the frequency of fire increases and the water table is dropping, among other things, according to the Drought Monitor.
The rest of the Lynchburg region is experiencing less severe "moderate drought" conditions.
Under a moderate drought, corn yield is low, soybean and cotton crops are stressed, rivers are lower and streams are dry, among other things.
Lynchburg has seen 0.17 inches of precipitation since Sept. 1, which is 3.9 inches less than normal, according to National Weather Service data.
"The last time widespread severe drought conditions were in our area, you have to go back over 10 years to 2007 and 2008," the U.S National Weather Service's Blacksburg Office, which covers the Lynchburg area, said on social media.
The drought comes at a time of record-breaking heat in the region.
Lynchburg's high temperature Wednesday broke a 114-year-old daily record, according to preliminary National Weather Service data.
The temperature peaked at 96 degrees, breaking Lynchburg's previous record for Oct. 2 of 88 degrees, set in 1905, according to the weather service. Local records date back to 1893.
That 96-degree temperature was 24 degrees above Lynchburg's normal Oct. 2 high of 72 degrees.
Blacksburg, Danville and Roanoke also set new maximum temperature records for Oct. 2 at 90, 97 and 94 degrees, respectively.
Thursday's forecast calls for a high around 99, which would break the Oct. 3 record in Lynchburg of 94, set in 1919, according to the National Weather Service. Then, a cold front moves in, and Friday's and Saturday's highs in Lynchburg are forecast to reach around 82 and 70, respectively.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is a partnership among the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.