Rainfall deficit brings severe drought to four southwestern N.C. counties

Friday, June 24, 2016 - 12:00am

Severe drought has returned to North Carolina for the first time since September 2015 as rainfall deficits continue to impact the southwestern mountains.

Portions of Macon, Transylvania, Jackson, and Haywood counties have been experiencing dry conditions for several months due to lack of adequate rainfall. These counties were considered to be in a moderate drought, but were upgraded to severe drought just this week. These dry conditions impact soil moisture levels, stream flows, and groundwater levels, which are all some of the factors on which drought categories are based. Should these dry conditions continue, it could also have an effect on agriculture.

Ten other counties in North Carolina are experiencing moderate drought, and 22 counties are considered abnormally dry, which means that drought could emerge in those areas if dry conditions persist.

Members of a state drought council conduct a conference call each week to discuss the impact of rainfall and provide recommendations for the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Drought Monitor then generates a drought map that is released every Thursday and can be found online at www.ncdrought.org.

For ways to use water more efficiently, go to www.savewaternc.org.