Drought eases in southern, western counties
A swath of counties across southeast North Carolina, including Cumberland County, are no longer experiencing drought conditions, according to a state report issued Thursday.
Almost a quarter of the state is now considered abnormally dry, the mildest of five drought categories monitored by the state Drought Management Advisory Council. The 23 counties include much of northeast North Carolina and a group of southeastern counties around Cumberland County – Sampson, Robeson, Hoke, Scotland, Duplin and Pender.
Last week, only six counties statewide were considered abnormally dry.
Much of central North Carolina, including the Triangle continues to experience moderate drought conditions.
Meanwhile, the number of western counties in exceptional or extreme drought, the two worst drought categories, dropped from 48 to 33 in the past week. Still, some U.S. Geological Survey stream gauges in western North Carolina are approaching or are at their lowest levels ever, officials said.
A cold front passing through the state Thursday brought some rain to the southeastern part of the state before ushering in milder weather for the weekend.
The Drought Management Advisory Council plans to meet at the State Fairgrounds next Thursday to discuss the state's drought situation, including reviewing climate outlook models.