Local News

Hanna pushes Triangle out of drought

Posted September 11, 2008 9:00 a.m. EDT
Updated December 9, 2008 6:13 a.m. EST

Tropical Storm Hanna delivered for the Triangle, ending a drought that had lasted more than a year.

In an update released Thursday, the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council showed Wake, Durham and 22 other counties were "abnormally dry," but no longer in drought status.

The south-central part of the state is in the best shape. Fayetteville and surrounding counties were not even noted in the report, signaling that water levels there are back to normal.

In the Triangle, the "abnormally dry" designation means that local municipalities may still impose and enforce water-usage limits. Many have changed from mandatory to voluntary conservation measures.

Conditions may be improving, but Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said Thursday, "Customers should conserve all the time. Not just during the drought."

In the far western quarter of the state, 19 counties are still in extreme drought.

Weekend rain from Hanna and a mid-week cold front have boosted levels in area lakes. At midday on Wednesday, Falls and Jordan lakes measured above normal.

The council reports conditions every Thursday based on data collected at 8 a.m. each Tuesday. That means that rain Tuesday night and Wednesday isn't reflected, and conditions are probably even a bit better than reported, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

With Wednesday's rainfall of 1.19 inches, Raleigh-Durham International Airport has gotten more than 6 inches since Sept. 1. Fayetteville has received more than 5 inches of rain in the same period and nearly 46 inches so far this year

The capital city has gotten 39.33 inches of rain since Jan. 1 – more 8 inches over the normal total and 15 inches more than at this point in 2007.