Local News

Rains Quench Thirst for Drought Relief – for Now

Posted March 13, 2008

— Heavy rains, which poured as much as 3 inches on the Triangle last week and provided needed precipitation across the state, helped ease North Carolina's drought situation, state officials said Thursday.

The weekly report issued by the state Drought Management Advisory Council shows exceptional drought conditions – the worst of five categories – aren't seen anywhere in North Carolina. Last week, 39 of the state's 100 counties were experiencing exceptional drought.

Forty-five counties, including all of the Triangle, are now in extreme drought. Another 37 counties, including Cumberland, Wilson and Wayne, are in severe drought, and 15 are in moderate drought, according to Thursday's report. Carteret, Dare and New Hanover counties are no longer considered to be in a drought and are listed in the report as experiencing only what the categories term "abnormally dry" conditions.

The report marked the first time since Aug. 14 that no North Carolina county was in exceptional drought. WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said such conditions can easily reappear if the state doesn't continue to receive regular rains, however.

"If we don't continue to see the kinds of rain that we saw last week ... then it's likely we're going to get right back into exceptional drought in our area," Gardner said.

Gov. Mike Easley restated his call for continued water conservation statewide.

“We had some good rain the last few weeks, but that does not mean that we now have plenty of water,” Easley said in a statement. “The rain helps, but spring is coming, which means water use goes up and evaporation loss increases. We are still looking at some tough months as we go forward, so people need to continue to conserve.”

On Tuesday, Easley announced a three-part legislative package to modernize the state’s 600-plus public water systems, mandate water conservation and efficiency and upgrade the state's ability to respond to water emergencies.


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  • teach4er Mar 13, 2008

    The drought designation seems arbitrary to me. Has anyone thought that maybe the drought is caused by more people moving here and using up our water supply?

  • Angry Independent Mar 13, 2008

    our 365 day rainfall deficit is now 5.75 inches, or about 13 percent.. Does anyone know why that still is considered a 4 out of 5 on the drought scale? Doesn't seem to make much sense.

  • Through a glass darkly Mar 13, 2008

    I love reading trash-talk from the John Locke Foundation. It makes me feel that maybe humans haven't evolved any in the past 5,000 years.

  • monkey_boy09 Mar 13, 2008

    They really need to ask opec to increase output, this is crazy. I need water so I can wash my driveway.

  • Southern Fried Yankee Mar 13, 2008


    Sounds like the way the govt wants to control oil, doesn't it?

  • PeaceOut2017 Mar 13, 2008

    time's running out for Raleigh to raise water rates even more

  • Proud2BUS Citizen Mar 13, 2008

    I hope that the leaders of this state have learned something from this and don't rush to reduce the restrictions. They took their time in putting in place the restrictions and the water supply just continued to be depleted.

    We are still a long way from being back to normal and the ground is still extremely dry.

  • DurhamDude Mar 13, 2008

    Maybe if we get 2 or 3 of the largest employers in RTP to close down and move, people will move out of the area and leave the rest of us with more water.

  • charlesboyer Mar 13, 2008

    Those are very interesting photos and the author's point about the government wanting only to conserve and not increase the water supply itself are very well taken.

  • jsanders Mar 13, 2008

    Here are photos of how fast Durham's reservoirs have filled since October: http://triangle.johnlocke.org/blog/?p=1836