Drought conditions in Richmond County have gotten better in the past few weeks, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
On February 1, central North Carolina including Richmond County was declared to be under “severe” drought. Thanks to a few weeks of intermittent rain, the drought condition has been declared “moderate” since April 5.
“From March 1 til (Thursday) we’ve had close to six inches of rain,” said District Ranger Sam Niemyer. He said the Department of Forest Resources takes fire danger readings each day, which include precipitation amounts.
“This is the month we’ve had the most rain in,” said Niemyer. “February had a right good bit, too.”
In addition to rainfall, the drought monitor takes into account factors such as stream flow, groundwater and reservoir levels and soil moisture to determine the severity of a drought.
Niemyer thinks a moderate drought condition is near normal for our area.
“It’s not nearly as bad as a severe drought,” he said. “It all depends. There’s a formula you go by.”
He said his experience has taught him that gauging when our area will experience drought can be difficult, because it can happen any time of the year.
Niemyer finds it likely that the past few heavy rains have brought us back out of the severe drought conditions, as a few of them lasted for as long as five hours.
Although the rains have abated the severe drought conditions in our area, the abnormally dry areas to the east and west have for the most part remained the same, according to the N.C. Drought Monitor.
The North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council advises all water users in Richmond County to enact the following precautions in addition to previous advisories until further notice:
* 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.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ex. 43, or by e-mail at email@example.com.