N.C. Gov. Easley warns state’s drought not over

Published 12:44 pm Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Gov. Mike Easley today said worsening drought conditions in western North Carolina should be a warning to citizens that the state has not fully recovered from the drought.&bsp; He also advised citizens to continue using water wisely since a hot, dry summer is likely.

&dquo;Rain has been plentiful in the eastern part of the state, but parts of the piedmont and western North Carolina have received only half their normal rainfall,&dquo; said Easley.&bsp; &dquo;We learned a lot about conserving water during the past year, and we need to continue working together to make sure we have adequate water resources today and in the future.&dquo;

The federal drought map released today showed 28 counties are in extreme drought, 18 are in a severe drought, nine are in a moderate drought, 21 are abnormally dry and 24 eastern North Carolina counties are not in a drought.&bsp; Conditions worsened from severe to extreme drought in 13 counties: Avery, Cabarrus, Davidson, Davie, Haywood, Madison, Mitchell, Rowan, Union, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin and Yancey.&bsp; The drought deteriorated from moderate to severe in eight counties: Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Guilford, Moore, Richmond, Stokes and Surry.&bsp; Cumberland County moved from abnormally dry to moderate drought. &bsp;

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As of today, 4.95 million residents of North Carolina are under voluntary or mandatory water use restrictions, which is about 73 percent of the population that receive water from systems tracked by the state.

The Drought Management Advisory Council met earlier today in Raleigh. In addition to reporting on the latest rainfall totals, state climatologists also noted that weather forecast models are uncertain about rain for the near future; meaning the state could face another hot, dry summer.&bsp; The council also heard reports from state and local agencies that projects to conduct water audits and establish water supply connections between drought-vulnerable towns and those communities with water to share are continuing as scheduled.

For more information on drought conditions in North Carolina or to learn how to conserve water, go to www.SaveWaterNC.org.