State drought council hosts annual meeting April 6 in Raleigh Nearly half of North Carolina is experiencing drought

Raleigh

The. N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council will hold its annual meeting April 6 in Raleigh to discuss the state’s dry conditions and what North Carolinians could expect in the coming months.

The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. in the Gov. James G. Martin Building at the N.C. State Fairgrounds, 1025 Blue Ridge Boulevard, Raleigh.

Nearly half of North Carolina’s 100 counties are experiencing moderate or severe drought conditions, while 20 more counties are abnormally dry for this time of year. For the past six months, below-average rainfall across large parts of North Carolina has depressed groundwater and streamflow levels at a time when those systems are typically being replenished.

“Fortunately, we have not witnessed many environmental impacts from this dry season,” said Linwood Peele, who is a supervisor in the state’s Water Supply Planning Branch and is the drought council’s acting chairman. “However, once water use picks up in late spring or summer, if we don’t get adequate rainfall to restore the reservoirs, groundwater and streams, we may start seeing impacts to crops and water supplies.”

The state’s latest drought map, which was released this morning, shows 19 of the state’s western counties are in severe drought, 28 are in moderate drought and 20 counties are experiencing abnormally dry conditions. To view the drought map, visit www.ncdrought.org.

At next week’s meeting, the council is scheduled to discuss the dry conditions as well as impacts to streams, groundwater, rivers, lakes and reservoir levels. Specialists will also discuss the potential impacts to agriculture, forestry, public water systems, as well as short and long-term weather forecasts.

This is the first in-person meeting for the council in 2017. The council is required by law to meet at least once a year to maintain appropriate agency readiness and participation.

Members of the council hold a conference call each week to discuss weather conditions and any impacts to streams, rivers, crops, wildfire activity and public water supplies. The council uses its weekly discussion to recommend to federal officials how the current conditions should be reflected on North Carolina’s drought map, which is released each Thursday.

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