Drought Remains Persistent

Despite some rains, outlook is for continued drought.

Published on: Feb 25, 2008

You may have seen rain falling outside your window over the last month or so, - but not enough.

Jeremy Schulz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., says that although we've received some rains, rainfall has still been less than what we might expect at this time of year in the Carolinas and Virginias.

"For the last month or so rainfall looks to be about 1-3 inches below normal - 50-75% below normal compared to what rainfall would typically be in the area," Schulz says. "You'd normally see 2-6 inches."

Schulz explains that D-4 is the worst category of drought and then "as you go down the scale to D-3, D2, and so on, the effects are diminished and less noticeable."

"Most of North Carolina is still in D-4 drought, or exceptional drought, which is the highest category," Schulz notes. "Some areas towards the coast are D-3 category right now – a step below - and then far eastern North Carolina is in D-2. Most of Virginia looks to be in the D-2 to D-1 category; not as bad as in North Carolina."

The fact that we are still not receiving average rainfall for this time of the year is unfortunate news. Because we have been undergoing so much drought in the Carolinas and Virginia for a long period of time, we will actually need more rain than normal in order to get moisture back up to where we would want to see it for planting crops this Spring.

The forecast is not very optimistic, either.

"For the 8-14 day outlook (forward from Feb. 19), we are expecting 50% above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation," Schulz says. "For the next three months or so, it looks like drought for much of eastern North Carolina. There will be a little bit of improvement over central North Carolina and Virginia. Western North Carolina and western Virginia should see some improvement."