More rain needed to help bust the drought

The recent rainfall isn’t a drought-buster, but it will help, a National Weather Service hydrologist said Monday.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The recent rainfall isn’t a drought-buster, but it will help, a National Weather Service hydrologist said Monday.

The more than 2 inches of rainfall reported at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Monday will be part of several factors that play into the area’s drought designation, said Mike Moneypenny, a hydrologist based in the weather service’s Raleigh office.

State drought officials will consider that information when they meet on Tuesday to look at the week’s reports and prepare Thursday’s drought monitor.

Moneypenny expects some improvement in drought conditions, but said it will take a longer-term pattern change to make a big difference.

In light of drought conditions, the City of Durham said last week it would consider implementing water-use restrictions in October.

The Town of Southern Pines is keeping its mandatory water restrictions in place. Town Manager Reagan Parsons said the rain is helping, but the water flow at Drowning Creek will have to maintain a certain level for five days before the restrictions are eased.

Restaurants are allowed to serve drinking water only by request, and residents are being told they may wash their cars and water their lawns only once every four days.

Violators face $500 fines.

Monday’s rain helped keep plants hydrated at Logan’s Nursery in Raleigh.

“We water all day long in the summer heat. The rain is a blessing to us. Everyone just rejoiced when the rain came. We won’t have to water all day today,” worker Leslie Logan said.

The rain was good for the plants, and Logan said it might help people’s lawns as well.

“If you have a summer grass in your yard like centipede, Bermuda or zoysia, the rain will definitely help because they are the grasses that are used to or able to handle the heat,” Logan said. “If you have a 12-month fescue grass in your yard, this is the time to replant. It’s probably been dead for a couple of months.”

Expert green thumbs said the rain couldn't have come at a better time, because this is the prime time for fall planting. Logan said people should survey their yards for any dead or dying trees and shrubs.

“This is the best time to take it out and till your ground up again and put a new tree and shrub in,” she said.

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Brian Shrader, Reporter
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