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Almost all of North Carolina now in drought

File photo of soybeans beginning to sprout on a farm in Nashville, North Carolina, on Thursday, May 16, 2019.
Madeline Gray
File photo of soybeans beginning to sprout on a farm in Nashville, North Carolina, on Thursday, May 16, 2019.

Almost all of North Carolina is now in drought.

Much of the state saw less than two inches of rain in June, according to the latest report from the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council.

The council says more than half of North Carolina is abnormally dry, the lowest level of drought.

Corn farmers say the lack of rain has stunted their crops. Tobacco farmers in Eastern North Carolina also report problems. Blueberry farmers say the drought could cause problems down the road.

“I’m worried about growth because if we continue with the drought, then, you know, we won’t have the growth back that we normally get and it could affect us so far as the potential for growth for next year’s crop," Pender County farmer Willie More told WECT.

Growers in 32 eastern counties can now apply for emergency federal loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Climatologists say pop-up showers this weekend and Gulf moisture later in the month could bring some relief.

"Systems tracking along the jet stream could clip us to the north, while Gulf moisture could also move in from the south and boost our rain chances and amounts," the North Carolina Climate Office said.

But July is traditionally the hottest month in North Carolina, and temperatures will likely stay in the upper 80s and lower 90s.

Bradley George is WUNC's AM reporter. A North Carolina native, his public radio career has taken him to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and most recently WUSF in Tampa. While there, he reported on the COVID-19 pandemic and was part of the station's Murrow award winning coverage of the 2020 election. Along the way, he has reported for NPR, Marketplace, The Takeaway, and the BBC World Service. Bradley is a graduate of Guilford College, where he majored in Theatre and German.
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