State completely drought-free

Posted May 14, 2009 4:18 p.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2009 6:29 p.m. EDT

— Recent rainfall in the mountains of western North Carolina pushed the last remnants of drought from the state, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced Thursday.

The drought that began Feb. 13, 2007 was the worst in North Carolina since recordkeeping began.

While dry conditions held sway, many municipalities imposed limits on water use and the General Assembly passed a law requiring state and local officials make preparations to respond to future droughts.

In the data released Thursday, more than half of the counties in the state remain abnormally dry, which means adequate rainfall is required to keep the drought from returning.

"It’s safe to say we’re cautiously optimistic about what this means for the weeks and months ahead," said Dee Freeman, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"There is still the possibility that dry conditions can return, and we could have impacts from drought this summer," he warned.