Weather

Another Record Falls in Parched Region

Posted November 30, 2007 1:21 p.m. EST
Updated November 30, 2007 7:14 p.m. EST

— A sunny Friday helped the Triangle set a new record for the driest November in recent memory.

During the month, 0.48 inch of rain was reported at the National Weather Service station at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, breaking the modern record of 0.5 inch of rain in November 2001.

WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said the month was the fourth-driest November of all time, noting 0.06 inch of rain was recorded in Raleigh during a couple of Novembers in the late 1800s.

The statewide drought, which also helped produce several heat-related records in August, continues to deepen with little relief in sight.

Eighty-five of North Carolina's 100 counties are experiencing exceptional or extreme drought conditions, the two worst categories monitored by the state Drought Management Advisory Council. A week ago, 78 counties were included in those two categories.

The remaining 15 counties, primarily in the eastern part of the state, are experiencing severe drought conditions, the drought council said in its weekly report, which was released Thursday.

Falls Lake, Raleigh's primary reservoir, has continued to set record low levels on a daily basis since it surpassed its 14-year-old record on Nov. 20, officials said. The lake is more than 9 feet below normal levels and has at least 106 days of water capacity remaining.

WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said a fast-moving system moving across the state late Sunday and early Monday should produce a little rain. Nonetheless, long-range forecasts continue to predict dry, warm conditions in the coming months, she said.

Fishel said more records could fall in December:

  • If Raleigh sees less than 0.75 inch of rain in the next month, it would mark the second-driest year on record. So far this year, 31.36 inches of rain has been recorded at RDU.
  • The area has seen rain on 81 days this year. The record for the fewest days of rain in a year is 92.

Meanwhile Friday, Gov. Mike Easley's office announced that a new Web site for monitoring water usage and changes in consumption is now available.

In October, Easley asked North Carolinians to try to cut their water use by as much as 50 percent. He also asked each of the state’s public water systems to increase reporting to the state by recording the amount of water used daily and entering that date on a weekly basis.

The information is entered on the state Division of Water Resources website and is now available in a searchable form at www.ncwater.org/Drought_Monitoring/reduction/weeklyreport.php.