Local Politics

Easley calls for drought legislation as conditions worsen

WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said the recent heat wave led to more evaporation from area reservoirs and increased water consumption.

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Gov. Mike Easley
RALEIGH, N.C. — As more severe drought conditions move eastward across North Carolina, Gov. Mike Easley on Thursday urged lawmakers to approve proposed legislation that would help the state manage prolonged dry spells.

“The legislature has been in town five weeks and still has not taken up our request on authorization to deal with this drought,” Easley said in a statement. “We have a drought this year, and the legislature needs to act this year.”

Bills pending in the General Assembly would mandate water conservation and efficiency, modernize the state's public water systems and improve the response to water emergencies.

The latest report issued by the state Drought Management Advisory Council shows dry conditions once again spreading across the state.

Thirty-two counties in western North Carolina are experiencing extreme drought conditions, while another 15 are under severe drought, according to the report, which was released Thursday morning. Last week, 28 counties were in extreme drought and 18 were in severe drought.

Meanwhile, the Triangle region, which was almost out of the drought last week has slipped back into moderate drought conditions, and abnormally dry conditions have spread across eastern North Carolina.

Only three counties in the northeast corner of the state are completely out of the drought this week, down from 24 eastern counties last week, according to the drought report.

WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said the region hasn't seen significant rainfall since May 20. Also, the recent heat wave that produced four days of triple-digit temperatures in the Triangle led to more evaporation from area reservoirs and increased water consumption, he said.

Although unstable conditions could produce some afternoon thunderstorms, Maze said, no significant rain is in the short-term forecast.

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