Over the last several weeks the big story in weather across the region has been the abnormally cold and wintry weather. However a story that has slid under the radar somewhat is the continued drought across the Southeast US including the Carolinas. This all began to develop late in the fall and has persisted through the first half of the winter. This is not all that surprising given that we are in the midst of a weak La Nina…a pattern that generally results in drier than normal conditions during the winter months.
Here is the latest drought monitor for the Southeast US as of Thursday’s update. Pretty much everyone from the Florida Panhandle northward is dealing with some range of drought condition. Central and South Florida obviously are not classified in drought and that’s likely a result of hurricane activity that occurred back in the late summer and early fall.
If you take a closer look at the state of North Carolina, moderate drought continues mainly in the Piedmont, roughly from the I-77 Coridoor to the I-95 Coridoor. Abnormally dry conditions according to the drought monitor are being experienced in the mountains/foothills and in Eastern North Carolina, east of 95. Within our coverage area the eastern edges of Catawba and Lincoln Counties are classified in the moderate stage while everyone else is considered abnormally dry.
Right now the weather pattern is such that we are getting just enough precipitation weekly to stabilize the drought conditions. That plus being at a time of the year where the sun angle is near its lowest is helping to keep things from getting worse. Right now we do not see anything in the works that may change things a whole lot. The next chance of precipitation looks to be late Monday and Monday night as a frontal boundary and modest dynamics will pass through the region. Current rainfall forecast are anywhere from ¼ inch to ½ of rainfall through Tuesday before it clears through the region and we dry out for the rest of the work week.
Looking a bit further into the long range another trough and upper low may approach the region by the end of next weekend bringing the next chance of rainfall to the area.
Even with marginal drought conditions we encourage everyone to remain attentive of your surroundings if you plan on doing any outside burning.