Weekend Rain Helped, But Much More Needed to Ease Drought

Posted June 3, 2007 5:58 p.m. EDT
Updated June 4, 2007 10:44 a.m. EDT

— The remnants of Tropical Depression Barry helped replenish a bit of North Carolina's water table and add some green to dry foliage over the weekend, but much more rain is needed to improve drought conditions across the state, according to weather officials.

"The drought took several months to set up so it's going to take more than one rain storm," said Brandon Locklear, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh. "Luckily, for the most part, this has been a steady rain so the ground has been able to absorb a lot of it without a lot of runoff."

Local government officials have taken water conservation measures to help offset drought conditions affecting more than three-fourths of the state.

In Cary and Morrisville, even-numbered addresses may use sprinkler systems Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Odd-numbered households can water Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. No one may water on Mondays.

In Johnston County, customers with odd-numbered addresses can water on odd-numbered dates Tuesday through Sunday and vice-versa for even-numbered addresses.

Durham residents are asked to voluntarily conserve water. Starting July 1, Raleigh residents will see mandatory, year-round conditions.

The worst drought conditions are in the mountains, which is experiencing an extreme drought while other parts of the state are in a milder severe drought, Locklear said.

The mountains received the smallest benefit from the weekend storm, with barely any rainfall recorded in Asheville.

The Charlotte area is nearly 4 inches below normal this year, and the third of an inch of rain that fell on the area from Saturday to Sunday will have little effect on lake and river levels, said Neil Dixon, a weather service meteorologist based in Greer, South Carolina

"It's just not enough," he said.

Wilmington is about 45 percent behind normal rainfall for its second-driest period on record, according to the weather service. While the area got nearly 2 inches of rain as of Sunday morning, several weeks of good rainfall are needed there to help parched lawns and half-full ponds, officials said.

The Raleigh area recorded about three-fourths of an inch of rain.

Showers are forecast for Monday and Tuesday around the state, followed by temperatures in the 90s later in the week.