Raleigh, N.C. — A government report released Thursday shows drought woes continue throughout most of North Carolina.
The report stated 86 of the state's 100 counties are in the extreme or exceptional status. Despite the expected arrival of lower temperatures later in the week, officials said the state still needs at least 15 inches of rainfall to ease statewide drought conditions.
Hundreds of towns and cities across the state are currently under voluntary or mandatory water restrictions. Gov. Mike Easley said if we do not get significant rainfall in two weeks, he will be forced to tighten the state's tap even more.
"Once you get in a situation where the fire departments don't have enough water or public safety (tells me) you don't have enough drinking water, then I can step in and do a lot of things," he said.
Easley said North Carolina is at the threshold of being in a state of emergency in terms of the drought. State law gives the governor the power to impose prohibitions and restrictions in all areas affected by a state of emergency.