Drought returns to central North Carolina

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    RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The state Drought Management Agency has
    issued a drought warning for much of central North Carolina, with
    rainfall levels nearly 6 inches below average for the year.

    The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wednesday that rain
    gauges at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport have recorded
    fewer than 15 inches of precipitation since Jan. 1, putting the
    region in the “moderate drought” category.

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    Conditions are worse along the coast, where several counties are
    in a severe drought.

    Officials say water supplies in the Piedmont have held steady.
    Falls Lake, the Neuse River and Lake Benson have not dropped
    significantly.

    The water deficit has impacted streams, groundwater and
    vegetation.

    Water demand has been higher than normal, with temperatures
    rising into the mid- and upper-90s this week.

    (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)