It's abnormally dry in the southeastern portion of the state. That's the word from the National Weather Service, which has placed Brunswick and Columbus counties under an early stage of drought.
A voluntary water conservation alert was issued for New Hanover County, which officials say could become mandatory if it doesn't alleviate the water shortage. Average rainfall in the area is about five inches below normal for the year.
That's causing farmers to slow plantings. The lack of rain also is slowing or stunting growth of crops already in the field.
Al Hight, director of Brunswick County Cooperative Extension Service, doesn't expect an all-out drought to be declared. He notes that summer is the rainy season.