Local News

Dry conditions spreading across state

Posted May 13, 2010 12:13 p.m. EDT

— Dry conditions continue to spread across North Carolina, raising the potential that a drought could occur this summer, officials said Thursday.

The eastern two-thirds of the state were listed as abnormally dry in the weekly drought map issued by the federal government. The dry conditions were first noted two weeks ago in 27 counties, and a continued lack of rainfall has caused those conditions to spread to 67 counties.

Rainfall at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport is about 50 percent of normal amounts since February, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

Abnormally dry isn't a drought category, but it indicates that an area could return to drought if rainfall deficits continue, according to state and federal officials.

Gardner said conditions in central North Carolina could improve in the coming weeks.

"When you look at statistics, we've actually got a better chance of having a dry spring followed by a wet summer than having a dry spring followed by a dry summer," she said. "It's something we're going to be watching closely."

A cold front moving across North Carolina late Friday and Saturday will bring a chance of thunderstorms to the region, she said.