Governor Mike Easley announced today that 27 North Carolina counties are now under extreme or severe drought.
The most severe areas had been in western North Carolina, but now they've spread to the Piedmont.
Easley says agencies in the region will be asked to stop non-essential uses of water.
While rain has provided relief to some areas, there are 94 counties classified as experiencing some form of drought.
The counties added to the list of those suffering from severe or extreme drought include Alexander, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln and Mecklenburg.