CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nearly 100% of North Carolina and South Carolina are in drought conditions, according to the latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The drought report is issued each Thursday for all 50 states. This week's report shows that 96.75% of North Carolina is in a drought, while 99% of South Carolina is anywhere from abnormally dry to a severe drought.
The Drought Monitor has 5 ranges:
- D0: Abnormally Dry (This is just the precursor to drought and is not technically considered drought).
- D1: Moderate Drought
- D2: Severe Drought
- D3: Extreme Drought
- D4: Exceptional Drought
North Carolina: 96.75% under D0-D2
North Carolina has seen an increase of over 31% since last Thursday. The biggest change is now all of the WCNC Charlott viewing area and the western Carolinas are under an "Abnormally Dry" status. This is something that has slowly been building over a 30-to-60 day period. This "Abnormally Dry" is really a pre-drought warning. At this point, pastures are dry; mild crop stress is noted; irrigation increases and lawns are turning brown.
Just over 40% of North Carolina is under a "moderate" drought. This is up by about 5% from last week. This is notable for the eastern Carolinas, which does include the Raleigh area. During a moderate drought here is what starts to happen.
- Crop stress increases
- Hay production is reduced
- Producers feed hay to cattle early
- Wildfire danger is higher than the seasonal normal
- Increased signs of wildlife
- Trees and landscape are drought-stressed
- Streamflow is reduced
- Lake and reservoirs levels decline
- Voluntary water conservation begins
Severe drought has risen by nearly 9%. This is where drought can have a long-lasting effect on flora and fauna. During a severe drought, conditions worsen and preventative and adaptive measures need to be taken.
- Dryland crop yields are low
- Wildfires are difficult to extinguish
- Swimming areas and boat ramps begin to close
- Voluntary and mandatory water use restrictions are implemented,
- People are asked to refrain from nonessential water use
South Carolina: 99.15% under D0-D2
South Carolina only has less than 1% not under at least a dry status. This spot is where Clarendon, Calhoun and Orangeburg County all meet.
Pretty much the entire state, 99.15%, is under an abnormally dry or drought tag. South Carolina has fared better when it comes to rain over the last month but the entire state is in dire need of rain.
Moderate drought has seen a drastic increase of about 17.5%, which is substantial. As mentioned above, this is where trees and plants are becoming stressed. Even a moderate drought can have a lasting effect on trees in the future weakening them and making them more susceptible to storm damage.
Just over 10% of the state is now under a severe drought (up from 3.95% last week). The worst of the drought is through Edgefield, Saluda and Newbury (east-southeast of Columbia) and the extreme southern tip of the state around Ridgeland and Beaufort.