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Congresswoman Plaskett Announces V.I.'s Inclusion In Monthly & Seasonal Operational Drought Outlooks

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Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett
Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett

Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett shared the following statement on the inclusion of the Virgin Islands in the Climate Prediction Center Operational Drought Outlooks: 

“I am pleased to share that the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) will begin including the U.S. Virgin Islands in its operational Monthly and Seasonal Drought Outlooks, beginning in August of 2023. 

“My office successfully worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to include the Virgin Islands in the U.S. Drought Monitor in 2019, which provides a general summary of current drought conditions and provides access to permanent disaster relief programs related to drought. As a result of the new inclusion in the CPC Drought Outlooks, our farmers will now have access to additional resources that can assist with their planning and preparation for adverse conditions, as well as their maximization of expected favorable conditions. The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture, the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, and the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency alongside environmental monitoring volunteers, the farming community, the University of the Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands Drought Coordinator, Christina Chanes, worked in partnership to collect, compile, and analyze data on precipitation and particulate matter. This community- wide effort played an instrumental role in the Climate Prediction Center’s decision to include the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Operational Drought Outlooks. 

“Given the immense impact of weather on agriculture, skillful weather forecasts provided by CPC Drought Outlooks are of tremendous importance to farmers for effective decision making on critical matters, including which crops are most likely to flourish in the predicted growing season, how much of each crop to grow, whether to irrigate, the timing of planting and harvesting and whether to purchase crop insurance. 

“This is a critical and timely development for the agricultural community in our territory. It is my hope that the data and resources provided by the Drought Outlooks will be a well-utilized resource by our local farmers and those in the Virgin Islands agriculture sector.”