Published: 2012-02-02 16:06:00
Updated: 2012-02-03 05:31:48
Posted February 2, 2012
Updated February 3, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Could this winter's warm and dry weather signal what's ahead when it comes to rainfall for the rest of the year?
According to the latest drought map from the U.S. Drought Monitor, 74 North Carolina counties are experiencing some type of drought condition – 49 have been classified as being abnormally dry and 25 have been classified as being in a moderate drought.
State climatologist Dr. Ryan Boyles says it is still possible to get enough rain over the next few months to ease the drought conditions, but if there's no relief by late April or early May, he says, it could be time to worry. N.C. Drought Maps Time Lapse Animation
"If our reservoirs aren't full by that target period, then we're primed for problems come summertime," Boyles said.
That's nothing new for North Carolina.
Droughts in 2003 and 2007 have trained water resource managers how to handle supplies during the winter and early spring.
"If we can do that, and we don’t have an incredibly dry summer, we generally can get through the summer without too many problems," Boyles said.
Already, water levels at Falls Lake – Raleigh's main water supply – are down 2.7 feet.
"We're taking steps to conserve the water, to the extent we can," said Tom Freeman, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the water level at Falls Lake.