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Nine Eastern NC counties in severe drought; entire region behind on rainfall

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Meredith Radford
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The weekly drought update for North Carolina was released Thursday, showing that all of Eastern North Carolina is still affected by dry or very dry conditions. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more.

There are nine counties throughout Eastern NC that are in a severe drought, including Duplin, Lenoir, and Pitt. According to an update from the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council, 16 counties are in a moderate drought, and 15 are experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

Meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Newport Casey Dail says our region is about an inch of rain below what’s normal for this calendar year. She says while that doesn’t seem like a lot, it can have lasting impacts.

“We’re talking about lawns are brown. Talking about crop stress increases, as we get into these more severe droughts. There’s more [of] a threat for wildfire danger, it’s higher than normal. Stream flows across the rivers are reduced and the lakes and the river reservoir levels are declining as well.”

Dail says it would now take more than an inch to make up for the rain we’ve been lacking. She says our next best chance for rain is early next week.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center anticipates that the drought may be reduced and improving by June or July.

For Public Radio East, I’m Meredith Radford.

Meredith Radford is a News Reporter for Public Radio East. She studied at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving a degree in Journalism and Political Science. Born and raised in Eastern North Carolina, Meredith is excited to cover the area and contribute to the community. When not out reporting, she enjoys hiking, camping and kayaking as well as baking.