While most of the High Country remains abnormally dry for mid September, a greater portion of Avery County is now listed in the moderate drought category, according to US Drought Monitor data released this week. All of of Ashe and all but the farthest southeast tip of Watauga are in the abnormally dry classification, which has remained largely unchanged for most of the summer.
Through September 16, Boone had officially recorded .69 inches of rain making it the 5th driest September so far since 1980. Yearly totals, so far, show 32.47 inches, making it the 5th driest year since 1980. By yearly comparison in 2013, at the same time, 66.03 inches was recorded en-route to breaking modern day rainfall records.
The statewide estimated population affected by drought is 5,510,866. Graphics below also show the impact the lack of rain is having on cattle, hay & corn production in the region.
For the contiguous 48 states, the U.S. Drought Monitor showed 31.53 percent of the area in moderate drought or worse, compared with 31.67 percent a week earlier.Drought now affects 108,998,892 people, compared with 110,737,784 a week earlier.
For all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Drought Monitor showed 28.00 percent of the area in moderate drought or worse, compared with 28.14 percent a week earlier. Drought now affects 112,080,953 people, compared with 113,857,879 a week earlier.
High Country drought status September 15, 2015. Graphics: USDA
Drought comparison statewide Septmeber 15, 2015 to September 16, 2014