The hot temperatures, lack of rain, and windy conditions have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a warning that we have increased fire danger in our area. While temperatures cooled a bit from Wednesday & Thursday's mid-90s, a southwesterly wind continued through Thursday--with steady winds near 10 mph and gusts up to over 20 mph. The winds may diminish a bit on Friday.
The North Carolina Forest Service issued a ban on all open burning and canceled all burning permits for 18 eastern North Carolina counties. While we have no such ban, they cautioned that conditions are right for brush and grass fires to spread and urged extra caution.
There is a chance of a few scattered showers Friday afternoon, but there is no likelihood of significant rainfall all the way through next weekend (June 7th and 8th).
On a related subject, the North Carolina Dept. of Environmental Quality says that drought has returned to North Carolina for the first time in more than a year.
Lack of adequate rainfall and hot temperatures have pushed 10 counties in southeastern North Carolina into a moderate drought, according to the state’s drought map, which is updated every Thursday. Thirty other counties in eastern and central North Carolina are abnormally dry, which means they are not experiencing drought but could be if dry conditions persist. The drought map can be found at www.ncdrought.org.
Lincoln, Catawba, Gaston and Cleveland counties all suffered through prolonged summer droughts in 2015 and 2016. So far this year, the mountains have received far more than a normal amount of rainfall and the western piedmont had a wet early Spring--but it's now starting to dry out all over.
“We are seeing impacts to streams, groundwater levels and inflows to reservoirs across central and eastern North Carolina,” said Klaus Albertin, chairman of the NC Drought Management Advisory Council. “We are not seeing water supply issues in our reservoirs and streams yet, but water systems are seeing increased demand due to the unseasonably hot and dry conditions.”
Thursday’s drought map shows moderate drought – the least severe of the four drought categories – stretching from Columbus to Pamlico counties. This is the first time North Carolina has experienced any drought conditions since May 15, 2018.
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