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North Carolina drought free

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- North Carolina is finally drought free. The Drought Management Advisory Council says no part of the state is experiencing drought conditions. That's the first time that's happened in nearly two years.

The rain the state received from Tropical Depression Beryl helped eliminate lingering moderate drought conditions in eastern North Carolina.

Thirty-six of North Carolina's 100 counties are listed as abnormally dry, including all of New Hanover and Brunswick and part of Columbus, Pender and Onslow.

Abnormally dry is not a drought category. Rather, it describes less severe dry conditions, which still require heightened awareness by water users in the affected counties, according to he Department of Environment and Natural Resources. These counties should monitor their water supply sources for diminished capacity and plan for potentially worsening conditions if the dryness persists.

The last time the state was drought-free was during the week of June 29, 2010.

These conditions are reflected on the federal drought map for North Carolina, which is released every Thursday. To see the most recent drought map, go to www.ncdrought.org.

"Recent rains have improved many streams and groundwater levels," said Donna Jackson, chairwoman of the NC Drought Management Advisory Council. "Major reservoirs, including those in the Triangle and Catawba River basin, are full and there is a sufficient water supply available at this time."

While recent rainfall has brought recovery to surface water and topsoil, there is a deeper groundwater deficit. There are lower water levels in wells, which help supply individual and community water needs.

"North Carolina's rainfall becomes more difficult to forecast, as well as less reliable, during the summer months," said Michael Moneypenny, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Raleigh and a member of the NC Drought Management Advisory Council. "Weather systems are typically weaker and the bulk of our rainfall comes from scattered shower and thunderstorm activity that pops up during the heat of the day."

Ryan Boyles, the state climatologist who works at NC State University, added: "Winter climate conditions can be predicted several months in advance due to factors such as La Niña. However, summer seasonal conditions are not currently predictable, and the upcoming summer is just as likely to be dry as wet."

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