|RALEIGH – Drought has returned to North Carolina for the first time in more than a year.
Lack of adequate rainfall and hot temperatures have pushed 10 counties in southeastern North Carolina into a moderate drought, according to the state’s drought map, which is updated every Thursday. Thirty other counties in eastern and central North Carolina are abnormally dry, which means they are not experiencing drought but could be if dry conditions persist. Today’s drought map can be found at www.ncdrought.org.
“We are seeing impacts to streams, groundwater levels and inflows to reservoirs across central and eastern North Carolina,” said Klaus Albertin, chairman of the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council. “People should follow the water restrictions implemented by their local water system. We are not seeing water supply issues in our reservoirs and streams yet, but water systems are seeing increased demand due to the unseasonably hot and dry conditions. Water restrictions help reduce the risk of water shortages if the current weather pattern continues.”
Today’s drought map shows moderate drought – the least severe of the four drought categories – stretching from Columbus to Pamlico counties. This is the first time North Carolina has experienced any drought conditions since May 15, 2018.
“Drought conditions have quickly returned to eastern North Carolina due to a high-pressure system persisting off the east coast, locking in above average temperatures and dry conditions,” said Darrian Bertrand of the N.C. State Climate Office. “This pattern has emerged earlier in the year than is typical, quickly drying out soils. Much of eastern North Carolina is 3-inches below normal in rainfall for the month of May and with another dry week ahead, conditions will likely worsen.”
Drought categories are based on streamflow, groundwater levels, the amount of water stored in reservoirs, soil moisture, the time of year and other relevant factors for assessing the extent and severity of dry conditions.