Local News

Most of N.C. in Extreme Drought Status

Posted September 6, 2007 5:45 a.m. EDT
Updated September 6, 2007 10:49 a.m. EDT

— Latest figures show most of North Carolina is experiencing extreme or severe drought conditions.

The North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council reports 63 counties are in the extreme drought category and 20 counties are in the severe drought classification. Experts said at least 15 inches of rain is needed by Thanksgiving to ease statewide drought conditions.

Raleigh homeowners know they cannot water whenever they want, but the city's code enforcers continue to cruise through subdivisions and spot violators. First-time offenders have to pay a $200 fine under the new rules, but some customers get to water everyday.

Those with new lawns can request a special permit. The city has fielded nearly 800 requests so far. The permit were initially free, but now city officials are charging $50 per permit.

Raleigh's water supply has dropped nearly 50 percent. If it gets much worse, city leaders said they will consider tighter restrictions, such banning irrigation all together.

The dry conditions are also fueling wildfires across the state. In Robeson County, officials have already seen 100 wildfires, mostly from people burning yard debris. A spark from a street sweeper that lost its wheel started a small roadside fire off the Beltline Wednesday.

State officials said more than 5,300 fires have burned more than 30,000 acres in North Carolina this year. The statewide burning ban is currently in effect across the state.