Weather

Drought conditions remain unchanged for most of the state

Posted April 26, 2012

— Most counties in North Carolina are currently experiencing either abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions, according to the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council.

Fifty-three counties, mainly in the central and southern parts of the state, are under the moderate drought category, which is the least severe form of drought. Abnormally dry conditions are effecting 35 counties in both the eastern and western regions of the state.

The council met Thursday morning at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh to discuss the dry conditions the state is experiencing and what the state can expect in the coming months.

Due to a dry winter season, both streamflow and groundwater levels are already below normal. These conditions could get worse without above normal rainfall in the coming months, especially when the temperature rises.

The council concluded that the state is not in a crisis situation. North Carolina has dealt with extreme drought in the past, they said, and residents and officials are now better prepared.

If rainfall does not remain consistent, industries such as agriculture and forestry could be negatively impacted. Water supplies could also dwindle in the summer if drought conditions worsen.

In the past six weeks, most of the state has remained at either abnormally dry or moderate levels.

"Even with all the rain we got last weekend there was no change in drought conditions," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said Thursday.

Conditions are not expected to change this weekend either. Scattered showers and storms are possible in the Southern counties on Friday and across the area on Sunday, but will not have a major impact on the dry conditions, Maze said.

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  • dumbhick Apr 27, 7:29 p.m.

    "I was abundantly aware of when drought conditions existed and the challenges they present l-o-n-g before this outfit was created." - you and I and thousands others may be aware, but take a ride thru a Cary suburb during a voluntary conservation notice and see how many sprinkler systems are active and how many cars are being washed. Bunch of those folks drive by or across lakes that are extremely low for weeks prior to the restrictions on their way home to turn on the sprinklers.

  • dumbhick Apr 27, 7:15 p.m.

    How about I agree that, due to the nature of politics, there are numerous agencies, departments and bureaus which are for *practical* purposes mainly unnecessary. They're primary function in many cases is to either establish "turf", protect established turf, cover someone's rear end or to make it appear that something is being done without actually doing anything.

    In the case of this drought council I don't believe there was an existing agency which belongs to the state of NC with the purpose of collecting and studying drought related information and making pertinent technical recommendations to the state government and our citizens. Federal sources could very well be utilized but there's turf, there's the inherent resistance to federal intervention as well as other reasons, technical and political/emotional. ONLY 1000 CHARACTERS!
    Bottom line for me is that the reality of politics and its complications often require measures which would otherwise be unnecessary.

  • 4YourConsideration Apr 27, 5:31 p.m.

    dumbhick: Alas, I do in fact understand that resources are required to develop, maintain and supply water to our citizenry. I give unqualified support to this role of government and said as much in a previous post. Conservation will only carry us so far as you have noted. Both Raleigh and Atlanta in affect penalized consumers after the last drought with steep rate increases. Why? Well, they both cited loss of revenue because of the crushing restrictions imposed during the water shortage. A shortage that would have been reduced or eliminated had the people in charge of providing water planned adequately for droughts and population growth.

  • 4YourConsideration Apr 27, 5:20 p.m.

    dumbhick: "Beg to differ, without awareness the public will not support new projects. Education is the first step." So, does this mean before this agency was in existence you were unaware of when we were in a drought? And, there are no other resources that can a) Let us know when we are in a drought b) Make us aware of the dangers that droughts pose? I beg to differ. Speaking only for myself - but probably others as well - I was abundantly aware of when drought conditions existed and the challenges they present l-o-n-g before this outfit was created. Once again I submit this is a totally unnecessary agency and a waste of resources. We're going to have to "agree to disagree" on this point.......

  • dumbhick Apr 27, 3:24 p.m.

    "A monitoring agency does nothing to fix the problem" - Beg to differ, without awareness the public will not support new projects. Education is the first step. (Not all of us garden or go fishing, to many North Carolinians water just comes from a tap and rain is an inconvenience.)

  • dumbhick Apr 27, 3:20 p.m.

    4YourConsideration:As much as the public likes *simple*, your position proves that simple is almost impossible. Being a proponent of less government you must understand that constructing reservoirs requires a lot of tax dollars and most often requires "acquisition" of privately owned property.
    It also requires more bureaucracy to manage the resource.
    Couple this with the fact that, at present, water isn't as lucrative as industrial, business or residential development and it's nearly impossible to find politicians willing to support it.
    I DO agree that more storage capacity is needed, but I suspect that as tough as conservation is to sell, it's an easier political battle than massive construction projects. It's also, heaven forbid, more logical. No matter how much we increase storage capacity a long term drought, like Texas has recently experienced, could but us in a critical situation.

    "civil discourse" requires a willing audience :-)

  • 4YourConsideration Apr 27, 2:45 p.m.

    dumbhick: BTW: Thanks again for the civil discourse. Far too many of these posts devolve into name calling and personal attacks. Your cogent responses and glib wording certainly do not support the screen name you've chosen!

  • 4YourConsideration Apr 27, 2:40 p.m.

    dumbhick: I believe we are probably closer to sharing the same perspective/opinion than either of us originally thought! I'm in full agreement about the water shortages and the need to do something about it. Let me preface my next comment by saying that I am a proponent of limited government. But one of the roles I firmly believe they should handle is provided ciitzens of cities and towns with water. And this is one of the sidebar elements of this article that chafes me. Twice in the last 10-12 years we have experienced serious droughts and corollary water shortages. Yet absolutely NOTHING has been done to add new sources of water. This area continues to grow. And there certainly will be other droughts. A monitoring agency does nothing to fix the problem and is in fact a duplication of effort. Local municipalities and perhaps even the State should get up off their back ends and build lakes or perhaps pipelines to existing lakes instead of just talking about it.

  • dumbhick Apr 27, 2:20 p.m.

    4YourConsideration: First off, good for you that your area has water!
    As to the "newly-minted agency", it is my understanding that the agency was formed due to concerns of environmental experts and government officials *because* we have been experiencing water shortages for some time. Demands on public water supplies are growing with our population and businesses depend on a consistent water supply. The issue of management is as much economical as it is environmental.
    We probably shouldn't read much into the fact that since its formation the agency has reported drought. Admittedly most agencies or businesses will appear to exaggerate situations which they are personally involved with. It is their focus, a dentist may overstress flossing, a fireman will normally be overly concerned about gang outlets and space heaters. Overall they are reporting conditions which IMO have been present since their formation(and why they were formed at all). It wasn't a solution looking for a problem.

  • 4YourConsideration Apr 27, 12:44 p.m.

    dumbhick: Thanks for your measured and well thought out response! I'm a weather "nut" and go to wunderground and other sites regularly. I'm not sure where you are located (I'm in the Swift Creek section of WaCo), but my ground is anything but dry here. Like you, I'm a gardener. Even during the brief dry spell in early April our compacted clay was saturated at least 18" down. Area ponds and streams were admittedly low during parts of this winter, but have been at full pool since early March. Again, I don't think of this as a 'conspiracy' so much as a newly-minted agency trying to create something that simply isn't accurate. While I make no pretense of knowing conditions in all 53 counties reported as being in a moderate drought or abnormally dry, I am 100% certain that the area between Southern Wake and Cumberland County has absolutely zero signs of anything bearing a resemblance to a drought. It just is not supported by observations or statistics.

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