While the Midwest continues to bake under unseasonably warm temperatures and little to no rainfall, for a change, the Carolinas are in pretty good shape according to NC State Climatologist Dr. Ryan Boyles:
“In general across North Carolina with the rain fall in South Carolina last week, both states are looking ok. In particular in North Carolina and Virginia they have had a little more frequent, more regular rainfall, its kept the water supply and most of the crops fairly happy. We have had some stress from the heat, but compared to some of our neighbors to the west we are in pretty good condition.”
As hot as July has been, Boyles says that temperatures are running very near average:
“June was actually quite cool and below normal, though the end of June and first few days of July we did have that record breaking heat. Over all we are where we should be, but of course we have weeks where its hot and weeks when its not. The real good news is even though we have had heat it hasn’t been a sustained dry period to go along with that heat. We have had enough shower activity to make sure there is still enough moisture in the ground.”
We’ve been talking all year about the irrigation boom that’s come to the Carolinas. Boyles explains that while new systems probably haven’t gotten the use they would have last year, it’s probably been a crop saver all the same:
“Irrigation is becoming an increasingly useful resource. In general compared to the western US, we do have a lot of rain. The problem is that its highly variable and we don’t always get it during the critical period when we might need it. So irrigation can be an excellent strategy to take advantage of the rain when we do have it and use that extra water to keep things moist when there is no rain.”
The tropical season started with a bang, but has been extremely quiet the past few weeks. Boyles explains that this is not unusual:
“The early storms were a bit unusual in how they formed. We are now in that period where there is not a whole lot of tropical storm activity. Things don’t really get going until late August with the peak being in early to mid-September. With the potential emerging El Nino event in the Pacific, that can impact the ability for storms in the Atlantic to get formed and organized. But keep in mind, its not how many storms form, but how many affect come here.”
And while rainfall has been adequate, if not plentiful, Boyles says the Carolinas aren’t out of the woods yet when it comes to water problems:
“Hopefully everyone is keeping an eye on their streams and service water supply. The issue we have in some areas is ground water. It recovers much slower, and with a dry winter we are seeing some of those levels that are unusually low for this time of the year. If we hit a stretch of very dry weather those will drop very quickly.”
For US Drought Monitor information and weather forecasts right down to your farm,visit our homepage.
Dr. Ryan Boyles, NC State Climatologist.