CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The lack of rainfall just keeps adding to our worsening drought conditions. The only good news is the growing season has come to an end so the impacts on agriculture are temporarily softened a bit compared to mid-summer.
The drought has its roots back in the Spring when we had very little rainfall. This set the stage for summer when we normally can't rely on consistent rainfall from the pop-up afternoon storms.
You combine that with the hotter weather and longer days and the soil and vegetation dries out much quicker than in the cool season.
Then Autumn hit and the lack of rainfall got worse. We had a very dry August that lead to a dry September and then a very dry but also hot October.
October was the 5th warmest on record but we also had less than a 2" rainfall deficit.
The impacts now are low lake and stream levels which in some areas like Union county have gotten to the point that some docks now have dry land around them. There are also several wells that are showing stress on the groundwater levels. Places like Mineral Springs and Lake Monore have seen 12-14" of below normal rainfall. Compared to last year the difference is closer to 20-25" when we had a very wet Autumn and start to Winter in 2020.
High Rock lake has also started to show lower water levels than at any point over the past three years. The problem is with a moderate La Nina developing for the upcoming winter the chances of seeing widespread rain remain low.
We currently need about 9-12" of rainfall to eliminate the current drought conditions in the Carolinas. The pattern doesn't favor above-average rainfall, quite the opposite with mild and dry conditions to persist for the upcoming winter and early into the next Spring.