CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Federal officials say drought conditions in West Virginia are worsening as unusually high heat continues to beat down on the region.

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.

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Officials say nearly 50% of the state’s population is now in a drought.

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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.

Temperatures measured on Oct. 1 also surpassed record highs for the month in five cities.

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