Officials say nearly 50% of the state's population is now in a drought, with conditions worsening, the state experiencing record high temperatures.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows large swaths of southern West Virginia in a severe drought, a designation that includes the likely loss of crops and water shortages. The map also classifies the entire northern part of the state as abnormally dry. Meanwhile, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture said in a news release that 18.7 percent of the state is now considered in severe drought (D2) status. The areas may experience potential crop loss and water shortages.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture, West Virginia University Extension Service, USDA-FSA, the West Virginia Conservation Agency and the West Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security are currently working together to gather resources for those affected.

The National Weather Service marked last month as one of warmest and driest Septembers on record in multiple West Virginia cities. Less than one inch of rain was recorded in the month.

All outdoor burning is banned due to the dry conditions, except in preparation of food.

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