Moderate drought conditions blanket nearly half the state

Raleigh, NC

Forty-five counties in the western and central parts of the state are experiencing a moderate drought due to lack of adequate rainfall, according to Thursday’s federal drought map.

Moderate drought is the first category of the four drought classifications. The four drought categories are moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional, ranging from least to most detrimental.

“While Hurricane Dorian left heavy rainfall along the coast, almost none fell west of Interstate 95,” said Klaus Albertin, chairman of the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council. “Water supplies, agriculture, fire threat, and streamflows statewide are all beginning to reflect the lack of precipitation. Fall is the driest season in North Carolina so conditions may continue to worsen before they improve.”

Twenty-two counties are experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Abnormally dry is not drought, but means drought could emerge without adequate rainfall.

“It's not unheard of to have such hot, dry weather in September, but it is fairly rare,” said Corey Davis with the N.C. State Climate Office. “In the past 20 years, only two other Septembers, in 2005 and 2010, have been this dry in the southern Piedmont up to this point.”

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 uses the council’s advice to generate a map depicting areas experiencing drought, abnormally dry and normal conditions. The drought map is released every Thursday and posted to the state’s official drought website at



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