Rains Produce Small Gain Against Drought

Posted January 3, 2008 12:34 p.m. EST
Updated January 3, 2008 1:21 p.m. EST

— Heavy rains over the past week put a small dent in the statewide drought, but most of North Carolina continues to experience the worst drought conditions.

Sixty-seven of the state's 100 counties, including all of the Triangle region, are experiencing exceptional drought conditions, the worst of five categories monitored by the state Drought Management Advisory Council. A week ago, 78 counties were in the exceptional drought category.

Eleven counties in eastern and far western North Carolina moved from exceptional to extreme drought conditions, one step better. There are now 20 counties in that category, while 13 counties in the eastern edge of the state remain in severe drought conditions.

Three systems that moved across the state between Dec. 26 and Dec. 30 produced several inches of rain, prompting some areas to ease water restrictions or hold off implementing tougher rules.

Gov. Mike Easley on Thursday emphasized once again the need for continued water conservation.

“While the rain last week was most certainly welcome, it frankly did little to improve our very severe situation,” Easley said in a statement. “We all must continue our strong conservation efforts so we are able to make the most out of the modest water we did receive since the extremely dry conditions are predicted to continue.”

Thirty water systems most hard hit by the drought, including those in Raleigh and Durham, are to meet in Greensboro on Jan. 14 to discuss options for relief and to ensure they have emergency plans in place.