18 counties, all in the western end of the state, either continue to be or are now in the moderate drought status.
Watauga County improved from both moderate drought and abnormally dry status during most of the summer, to no drought for much of August and the first week of September. Watauga and Avery are among the counties in the moderate drought status, according to the September 20th update from the North Carolina Drought Management Council.
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.
Drought map September 20, 2016 from the North Carolina Drought Management Council