Eastern North Carolina on track for one of the driest autumns on record

All of northeastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks is in moderate drought conditons as of Nov. 18, 2021. [NCDrought.org map]

Eastern North Carolina is moving further into moderate drought conditions, and this fall is on pace for one of the driest on record.

The North Carolina Drought Monitor report released Thursday puts all of northeastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks in the “D1” category, which can lead to some damage to crops and pastures and creates a high fire risk. Streams, reservoirs and wells start to run low in moderate drought.

According to the National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City office, Cape Hatteras is the only reporting station in Dare, Hyde or Tyrrell counties above normal for rainfall since the beginning of September.

At Billy Mitchell Field in Frisco, 16.61 inches of rain had fallen as of Thursday afternoon since Sept. 1. The normal average through Nov. 18 is 15.97.

Dare County Regional Airport in Manteo recorded just 1.07 inches of rain in September, compared to the normal average of 4.54 inches. October was right around the average at 3.44 inches, while just 0.93 has fallen so far this month.

The Swan Quarter Ferry Dock was at 2.17 inches in September (6.31 normal), 2.16 in October (3.65) and 0.77 in November (entire month normal 2.48).

In Ocracoke, September had 1.69 inches (7.39 normal), October 3.56 (5.19) and 2.15 this month (2.59 normal full month).

At Gum Neck in Tyrrell County, 2.28 inches fell in September (6.18), 2.81 in October (3.90) and 0.63 in November (2.38).

A cold front will move through the region tonight with some light showers expected, and another front is forecast for Monday that will bring some more rain.

Some added relief could be on the way for at least the Outer Banks and areas just inland, as the National Climate Prediction Center long-range forecast for the last week of November is calling for above average rainfall.

But we could be looking at a long-term issue into mid-winter according to projections for the next several months.

The N.C. Drought Monitor Action Council strongly urges the implementation of the following drought response actions – in addition to previous advisories – for all water users located in or dependent on water resources from the areas of the state experiencing the following drought conditions:

D1 – Moderate Drought

  • Adhere to local water use restrictions.
  • Participate, as appropriate, in regional and local coordination for the management of water resources.
  • Stay informed on drought conditions and advisories (www.ncdrought.org).
  • Project water needs and available water supply for a ninety day period from the issuance of this advisory.
  • Assess your vulnerability to the drought conditions and adjust water usage to prolong available supply.
  • Inspect water delivery system components (e.g. irrigation lines, fixtures, processing equipment, water system lines, etc.), repair leaks and ensure that existing equipment is operating as efficiently as possible.
  • Minimize nonessential uses of water.
  • Implement available public awareness and educational outreach programs emphasizing the need to conserve water.

About Sam Walker 1512 Articles
Sam Walker was news director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, Big 94.5 WCMS and Z 92.3 from August 2011 to March 2022.