North Carolina’s Drought Management Advisory Council (DMAC) has expanded its Severe Drought category (D2 classification) for parts of 31 counties as of Nov. 7. Impacted counties range from Cherokee County in the west to Moore County in the east. Severe Drought is the second category of the four drought classifications based on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Portions of an additional 39 counties in western North Carolina are considered to be in Moderate Drought category (D1 classification).
On the latest US Drought Monitor map, more than 50% of the state is classified in Moderate (D1) or Severe Drought (D2), the greatest coverage since July 5, 2022. This is the third consecutive fall with Severe Drought in North Carolina, said Corey Davis, assistant state climatologist with the NC State Climate Office. Preliminary data from the National Centers for Environmental Information show a statewide average precipitation of 1.15 inches in October, the 10th-driest October since 1895. It was also the state’s driest October since 2000, which had a record low 0.08 inches of rain on average across the state.
Until further notice, DMAC strongly urges the implementation of drought response actions - in addition to previous advisories - for all water users located in or dependent on water resources from the areas of the state in Severe Drought conditions.
“We are definitely seeing more water systems going to voluntary conservation,” said Klaus Albertin, chair of the DMAC. “Duke Energy has moved the Catawba-Wateree operations to Drought Level 1 and a salt wedge has moved inland on the Roanoke to a point above Domtar’s intake location. There is little evidence of significant rain happening in the coming week, either.”
The North Carolina Forest Service has issued a burn ban for several western North Carolina counties due to increased fire risk from dry conditions. Water usage restrictions are determined on the water system level.
DMAC’s drought map is updated weekly on Thursday. The next update will be on Nov. 16.
To learn more, visit https://www.ncdrought.org/education.