What would be the cumulative drought status in NC if we did not get the beneficial rains from tropical storms? The question arises because we appear to be continually bailed out by the tropical storms.
Posted September 3, 2008
MIKE MOSS SAYS: Greg, It might be a more apt description to say that tropical cyclones and their remnants comprise a notable portion of our long-term "normal" rainfall amounts, and in years when they are more absent than others we may be more prone to develop rainfall deficits that lead to drought conditions.If I recal correctly, I believe our state climatologists estimated that around 15-20% of our yearly precipitation is provided by those systems, owing to the very moisture-rich environments that surround them and their high efficiency as rain producers. So, if we did not get tropical cyclones or their remnants in this area we would have a considerably drier climate and our normal rainfall would be lower. This would not necessarily be considered drought, since it would be the expected condition. Instead, drought (at least the "meteorological" form) is associated with rainfall amounts and/or frequencies that are below what would be typical for an area.