Drought intensifies in western N.C.

Posted May 29, 2008 11:48 a.m. EDT
Updated May 29, 2008 6:28 p.m. EDT

— While much of eastern North Carolina has pulled out of the historic drought that has gripped the state for the past year, conditions in the western part of the state are worsening, according to a new state report.

Twenty-eight counties, stretching from Charlotte to the Yadkin Valley, are experiencing extreme drought conditions, compared with 15 counties a week ago, the state Drought Management Advisory Council said in a report issued Thursday.

Another 18 counties in the western half of the state are in severe drought, the report said.

“Rain has been plentiful in the eastern part of the state, but parts of the Piedmont and western North Carolina have received only half their normal rainfall,” Gov. Mike Easley said in a statement. “We learned a lot about conserving water during the past year, and we need to continue working together to make sure we have adequate water resources today and in the future.”

Most of the Triangle remains classified as "abnormally dry," although most of Chatham County, all of Lee County, western Harnett County and extreme southwestern Wake County are in a moderate drought.

During a drought council meeting Thursday, state climatologists said weather forecast models are uncertain about rain for the near future, meaning the state could face another hot, dry summer.