Rainfall wipes out drought conditions across North Carolina

Raleigh, NC

Recent rainfall has helped to rid North Carolina of moderate drought conditions for the first time since last October, wiping out the lingering drought conditions in the western Piedmont.

“Recent rainfall has brought relief to the remaining drought conditions in eastern North Carolina,” said Klaus Albertin, chairman of the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council. “Streamflow, groundwater and soil moisture levels have greatly improved and are near normal averages. We remain vigilant as conditions may deteriorate depending on the rainfall we receive moving into the spring months, coupled with the very dry fall and winter we experienced.”

Thirty-three counties are still listed as abnormally dry due to long-term rainfall deficit. Abnormally dry is not a drought category. Rather, it describes less severe dry conditions, which still require heightened awareness by water users in the affected counties.

The conditions are reflected on the federal drought map for North Carolina, which is released every Thursday. To see the most recent drought map, go to www.ncdrought.org.

"It’s a big surprise that we've entered the spring with no drought in North Carolina given how conditions looked just three months ago,” said Corey Davis, a climatologist from the N.C. State Climate Office. “Going into the winter, we had seen several dry months in a row, declining streamflows and reservoir levels, and forecasts suggesting that a La Niña pattern would bring several more months of warm, dry weather. However, our winter pattern turned out to be generally cooler and wetter than expected and a mid-March snow event helped lift us completely out of drought.”

While current drought conditions are no longer present, it is difficult to forecast what the summer months may bring. Conditions can worsen quickly due to the longer-term deficits and because North Carolina’s hot summer months can bring about higher rates of evaporation.

For tips and ways to save water, go to www.savewaternc.org.



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