More of N.C. out of drought

Posted May 15, 2008 2:15 p.m. EDT

— A growing number of eastern North Carolina counties are no longer experiencing any form of drought conditions, according to a state report released Thursday.

Sixteen of the state's 100 counties are considered completely out of the drought, according to the weekly report issued by the state Drought Management Advisory Council. Another 26 counties, including the eastern part of the Triangle, are experiencing abnormally dry conditions, the mildest of five drought categories monitored by the state.

A week ago, only six counties in northeast North Carolina were considered drought-free.

The drought is getting worse in western North Carolina, where 17 counties around Charlotte are experiencing extreme drought conditions. Another 21 counties stretching from the western tip to the Triad were experiencing severe drought conditions.

Last week, 13 counties were in extreme drought, and 25 were in severe drought.

Most of the Triangle remains in the moderate drought category, although Wake, Durham and Harnett counties are on the line separating areas under moderate drought and those experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said the region has a chance to see about a quarter-inch of rain this weekend to help ease drought conditions even more.