Seventeen counties in the western part of the state are experiencing a moderate drought due to lack of adequate rainfall, according to Thursday’s federal drought map (May 2, 2016). The last time any part of the state experienced drought conditions was September 2015.
Sixty-one counties are experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Last week, 88 counties were listed as abnormally dry. Part of central North Carolina improved due to the abundance of rainfall received in the last week. Abnormally dry is not drought, but means drought could emerge without adequate rainfall.
“The counties in the southwestern mountain area of the state have been experiencing a drying trend that has lasted several months, which impacts soil moisture levels, stream flows and groundwater levels,” said Rebecca Ward, extension climatologist with the State Climate Office of North Carolina. “These impacts are some of the first indications that the area is becoming dry. This area may see additional impacts that could affect agriculture if adequate rainfall does not transpire.”
Members of a state drought council conduct a conference call each week to discuss the impact of rainfall and provide recommendations for the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The U.S. Drought Monitor uses the council’s advice to generate a map depicting areas experiencing drought, abnormally dry and normal conditions. The drought map is released every Thursday and posted to the state’s official drought website at www.ncdrought.org.