There is a saying that April showers bring May flowers. Maybe this year they'll bring some nice crops in June and July, as well.
The Monthly Farm Report from the Statistics Division of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, released May 27, says this year's April showers diminished the effects of the longstanding drought across much of North Carolina.
The first week of April, says the report, brought from 1.12 to 4.74 inches of rain to various areas of the state. In fact, some parts of the coastal plains had "too much moisture" during the period.
On the other hand, some parts of the mountain region of the state is suffering from dried-out topsoil, the report noted. Generally, temperatures were normal to below normal during the period.
Overall, moisture conditions seem much better as farmers head into July than they did during the first of the year. In January extreme or exceptional drought blanketed the state. Now the area of extreme or severe drought, typically depicted on weather maps by bright red or orange, respectively, has receded from the coastal plains region of the state.
The eastern part of the state is now rated as abnormally dry, the lowest drought condition as defined by the Southeast Regional Climate Center's U.S. Drought Monitor.
Much of North Carolinas piedmont is rated as in moderate drought by the SRCC. Further west, a smaller area of the piedmont, along with the northern mountain and extreme tip of the state, is rated as in severe drought.
But an area of the state centered in the southern mountain and Piedmont area, including Charlotte, remains in extreme drought. Happily, there are no longer any designated areas of exceptional drought in the state.
South Carolina, like its sister state on the northern border, suffered from intense drought earlier in the year. Now a sliver of the coast is rated only as 'abnormally dry.' Most of the central area of the state is in moderate drought.
A small band in the north central area of the South Carolina is rated to be in severe drought. And the western region just south of Charlotte remains in extreme drought.
Virginia is also improving in terms of moisture and is doing much better than the Carolinas. The eastern and northern half of the state is rated normal for moisture. The eastern and southern region is either abnormally dry or in moderate drought on the rating scale of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
View the U.S. Drought Monitor map of the Southeast region of the U.S. at www.drought.unl.edu/dm/DM_southeast.htm.
You can also download the N.C. May Farm Report at www.ncagr.com/stats/index.htm.