Drought

dry land
dasroofless / Flickr, Creative Commons

North Carolina's drought conditions are getting better, but nearly half of the state is still in a severe or moderate drought. 

Drought Map as of June 21, 2016.
North Carolin a Drought Monitor

Summer has brought moderate-to-severe drought conditions to 14 counties in the southwest corner of the state.

The area usually sees about an inch of rain per week, but not so this year, according to State Climatologist Rebecca Ward.

Dry soil image
Darren Hester / https://www.flickr.com/photos/grungetextures/4187619970

Parts of North Carolina have slipped into drought for the first time in two years. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources says the drought extends from the Triad to Charlotte and points west.

Jamie Kritzer is a spokesman for DENR.

"People need to pay close attention to what's happening in their areas and follow any water restrictions that are being put in place in those local areas," Kritzer says.

A picture of sweet potatoes.
Llez / Wikipedia

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving millions of dollars to North Carolina State University to research sweet potatoes.  The grant is aimed at developing new breeding tools to improve crop production in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Craig Yencho heads the university's sweet potato breeding program and is the project director.  He said sweet potatoes already feed millions of people in the region.

"It's a very hardy crop," said Yencho. "It can resist drought and heat very well.  It can be grown in a really wide range of soil types and it produces a lot of food per acre.”

NC Pulls Out Of Drought

Jun 14, 2013
NC Drought
US Drought Monitor

Thanks to recent rainfalls associated with Tropical Storm Andrea, North Carolina is now out of drought or abnormally dry conditions for the first time in three years.

The persistent drought has wreaked havoc on agriculture, affecting apple crops in the western part of the state and corn in the east.

Now, thanks to Tropical Storm Andrea and other rain events this spring, the state is no longer suffering from even the mildest classification of drought condition – abnormally dry or “D-zero” - for the first time in the past three years.

State drought map. Yellow counties are abnormally dry, tan counties are moderately dry.
State Division of Water Resources

North Carolina’s drought conditions are better than they were one year ago. Last April, 53 counties were experiencing a moderate drought – the lowest of the four drought categories. This year only eight of the state’s 100 counties are currently receiving that classification.

A map showing NC counties in moderate drought or abnormally dry
NC Drought Management Advisory Council

In the latest report from the US Drought Monitor just eight North Carolina counties are listed as being in moderate drought. At the end of December there were 65 - out of 100 counties in the state - that were classified as in moderate drought. The report released Thursday also lists 19 counties as abnormally dry.

This past July was one of the hottest on record, the third-hottest in fact since 1895. Typically, hot goes along with dry, but in contrast to the rest of the country most of North Carolina is enjoying drought-free conditions. Ryan Boyles from the State Climate Office says much of the Piedmont has benefited from frequent afternoon thundershowers.

NC Drought Management Advisory Council Drought

North Carolina is officially in a drought again. The lack of rain and high temperatures have contributed to moderate drought in seventeen counties, including Mecklenburg and Wake. Thirty-five others are experiencing abnormally dry conditions because there hasn't been enough rain. Sarah Young is the public information officer for the state Division of Water Resources. She says water restrictions matter now more than ever.

North Carolina has seen its fair share of both flooding and drought over the past several years. One of the problems has been getting accurate information, especially in rural areas. Francios Birgand is a biological engineering researcher at N.C. State. He led the development of the 'Gauge-Cam'. He says he and his team wanted to explore the possibility of using wireless imaging technologies to help track water flows in streams and rivers.

Drought conditions are improving across North Carolina after rain from Hurricane Irene and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. Division of Water Resources spokeswoman Sarah Young says some areas of eastern North Carolina were under extreme drought conditions just days before Irene made landfall on the Outer Banks a few weeks ago.

ncdrought.org
ncdrought.org

State officials are taking steps to stay on top of the drought in North Carolina that's becoming more and more severe. The North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council met July 21st in Williamston face-to-face in an acknowledgement of the severity of the issue. The focus of the meeting was mostly on the drought's impact on agriculture in the eastern part of the state. A recent federal map classified most of eastern North Carolina in the "severe" drought category. Ten counties in the southeast were listed in the "extreme" drought category. Spokeswoman for the State Division of Water Resources Sarah Young says the last time we saw extreme drought conditions was in December of 2008.

Unseasonably hot temperatures last week exacerbated drought conditions along the coast of North Carolina. Eight new eastern counties have been added to the severe drought list. Most of central North Carolina is experiencing abnormal to moderate drought conditions. State Climatologist Ryan Boyles says the drought has been worsening for a while.