The National Weather Service Office in Raleigh along with state climatologist Dr. Ryan Boyles and the State Climate Office of North Carolina released an update on drought conditions across North Carolina, and the news isn't all that good.
Fortunately, we saw beneficial rains in late October that led to the rise in water levels in rivers and lakes in the area. We haven't seen any rain since then though, and those water levels are returning to the low flow levels we saw before the soaking rains last month.
Obviously, we need more rain and lots of it. But, just how much do we need? According to the release from the National Weather Service and the State Climate Office, we would need to see 14 to 18 inches of rain over the next 3 months and 25 to 30 inches over the next 3 months to end the exceptional drought conditions in the state. To completely end the drought, we would need to see 24 inches of rain over the next 3 months. Based on climatology, we would expect to see 9 to 11 inches of rain over the next 3 months and 20 to 23 inches over the next 6 months.
Well above normal rainfall is needed through the winter and spring to end our drought, and we aren't likely to see that kind of rain. In fact, the long range forecast continues to call for drier than normal weather through winter. Based on this, we will still very likely be talking about the drought through the winter and into the spring of next year.