Local News

Drought continues to improve; Durham eases restrictions

Posted September 4, 2008 11:33 a.m. EDT
Updated September 4, 2008 1:55 p.m. EDT

— Heavy rains last week from the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay continued to ease drought conditions in western North Carolina, and Tropical Storm Hanna could provide similar relief to the northeastern part of the state this weekend.

Nineteen mountain counties are under extreme drought conditions, down from 37 counties a week ago, according to the latest report from the state Drought Management Advisory Council. Almost half of the state, stretching from Charlotte across the Triangle to the central coast, is now experiencing moderate drought conditions, the report said.

Meanwhile, severe drought conditions are cutting a wider swath across northeastern North Carolina, moving as far south as Nash and Wilson counties.

Tropical Storm Hanna is expected to dump several inches of rain on the eastern part of the state late Friday and Saturday.

The improved conditions prompted Durham officials to lift most mandatory water restrictions on Thursday.

Water is flowing over the dams at Lake Michie and the Little River Reservoir, and City Manager Thomas Bonfield said Durham has an ample supply of drinking water. Daily consumption also is 22 to 25 percent lower than a year ago, he said.

The city will continue to limit the use of sprinklers to Wednesdays and Saturdays between 5 and 8 a.m. or 5 and 8 p.m. Outdoor irrigation with a hand-held hose can be done any day of the week.