Drought Update

By: Jamie Arnold
By: Jamie Arnold

Even with some showers in the forecast, the drought status across much of our state remains serious.

Rainfall departures statewide are ranging from 10 to 20 inches and river levels are running at historic lows.  This is now the worst drought in NC since records began in 1895.

Now that the hurricane season has come and gone without the benefit of any hurricanes or tropical storms the prospects for any significant rain is diminishing.

The most common question regarding the drought is "how do we get out of it?"  Well, first we need it start raining, and then keep raining on a persistent basis for the next several months.

Last week, the National Weather Service and the NC Climate office released numbers regarding the state of the drought in our state and how much rain we need to end it - the numbers are not encouraging.

In order to wipe out this drought, much of the state would need to see 20 to 24 inches of rain in the next three months, or 30 to 35 inches of rain in the next 6 months.  That would mean well above normal rainfall would have to occur from now right on through the middle of the spring season.

Now for the really bad news, the National Weather Service says the chance of that happening is now only 4%...that's not a mistake...4%!

As it looks right now, the weather pattern that brought us this drought looks to be sticking around right on through the winter months.

That weather pattern features an area of high pressure parked off the Atlantic Coast that tends to keep moisture from moving into the Carolinas.  While there may be some short breaks in that weather pattern, the overall theme of the winter season is for more dry weather.

That of course could mean disastrous news as we head into next years growing season.

We'll continue to keep you posted on the drought status.

Jamie Arnold


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  • by Sonya Roughton Location: Beaufort county on Jan 2, 2008 at 08:21 AM
    Thank you so very much for your updates about our drought situation. I am a 8th grade science teacher at Chocowinity Middle School.I use your daily updates from either the morning/evening news or the Internet to "alarm" my students about our impending crisis with the drought situation. Part of our NC curriculum covers Earth's waters. Before the drought situation, my students admitted they never payed any mind to water usuage...we would never run out! Now with my labs and your updated information, the students have a real alarm for our drought situation. Please keep up the good work and keep the information coming. I definitely use it every day. Mrs. Sonya Roughton

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