The Carolina’s and Virginia have been receiving just enough rain to keep the weekly drought monitor in check. This week’s monitor, released Thursday morning, shows virtually no movement in drought conditions in the east over the past week. NC State Climatologist Dr. Ryan Boyles:
"Now, the big storm that we had come through on Monday, certainly brought some short term relief and, while there are still signals that streams and ground waters are not where they should be for this time of year (certainly sometimes even qualify for a higher drought status), we are hopeful that we can get frequent storms that come through and at least help us hold our own or, even better, we’d like to see some recovery. We still have a long way to go to get our resources back to where they should be come first of April or first of May."
With the warm temperatures over the past 10 days or so, perennials are starting to break dormancy, and this could spell trouble later on:
"It certainly is a risk, if we continue to have some of the warm weather that we had in the latter half of February. There’s a real chance for early bud break, early blooms to cause real problems for the perennials and especially the free crops where we do have concerns about a late freeze causing damage to a lot of the crops emerging at that time…"
Boyles says that the La Nina weather pattern that’s been in place for several months now shows no signs of abating:
"Not in the next few weeks… Right now the La Nina event is expected to persist and slowly decline over the next few months. The thing that is more problematic is that, as we get into the spring and summer, it almost doesn’t matter what happens with La Nina. It’s not well correlated with our weather patterns in here in the Carolinas and Virginia. The La Nina pattern is likely to continue, or we’re likely to continue to be dry. However, we have had years in the past where all it takes is a few weeks of fairly wet conditions to recover and certainly that’s what we’re hoping for…"
While there currently so widespread water restrictions in place, Boyles says that if regular rainfall doesn’t return soon, water use restrictions could be put in place:
"We’re keeping a close eye on especially the water resource issues right now. And in particular, what the implications are for the rest of the warm season. While we’re not really seeing widespread alarm, a lot of communities are becoming more precautious. Their reservoirs and ground waters supplies are not where they should be. Streams are low. People are starting to get a little nervous, we’re not yet in that mode where we starting to be overly concerned and trying to take widespread action yet, but certainly something to keep an eye on. If generally come early part of May, we’re not seeing the recovery and the outlook for summer isn’t as uncertain as it usually is, we’ll start to see some widespread water restrictions in place just to help stay on top of the issue and keep it from becoming a crisis…"
NC State Climatologist Ryan Boyles.