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Drought conditions could worsen

Spotty showers dotted the area Monday but drought conditions continue to plague our region and our state. With no considerable rainfall ahead we could see things get a whole lot worse. With New Hanover County and all of North Carolina still under extreme drought conditions the question is, is any relief on the way? Rick Neuherz with the National Weather Service said, "If we happen to get near normal rainfall that could result in temporary improving conditions in the drought, although the drought will not go away." According to Neuherz October through December are some of the driest months of the year. To date, New Hanover County is 19.44 inches below normal rainfall for the year. And with no considerable precipitation in sight we may be headed towards a worst case scenario. "So if we get to the end of December and we're still in severe to extreme drought and then it's dry during that period, then the drought will get worse into the growing season," Neuherz said. Growing season typically starts in the spring when water demands are at their highest. Neuherz says if no relief comes our way we could be in for restrictions far worse than turning off our sprinklers. "Your soils will dry out, your plants will start to struggle, the rivers won't have as much water in them. We get into a circumstance where you have issues with drinking water for communities." According to city data the average Wilmington resident uses 138 gallons of water a day. Neuherz says there's only one thing to keep in mind. Neuherz said, "The thing that people should do in a drought whether they're told to or not, is conserve water." The best hope we have for rainfall is if a tropical system was to head our way. There are still two months left in our tropical season. Even though it's dry, burn bans have been lifted for the entire region. However, the division of forestry urges people to not burn at all. But if you have to, make sure you have the proper permits.

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