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Rain helps ease North Carolina drought

Clouds and rain drops are reflected in a vehicle's sunroof Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C.
Chris Carlson
Clouds and rain drops are reflected in a vehicle's sunroof Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C.

Recent rain has helped lift much of western and central North Carolina out of drought, according to the latest report from the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council.

But rainfall in other parts of the state remains below average.

At least two inches of rain fell across much of the state last week. Assistant state climatologist Corey Davis says the coast saw even more.

"We've seen totals of four, five, six inches in some spots. The New Bern area had almost seven inches last weekend," Davis said. "So, that was really welcome rainfall all across the state."

The latest summary from the U.S. Drought Monitor says: "Throughout the region, precipitation of 200-400% of normal was common. The widespread heavy rains allowed for some easing of the dryness and drought conditions that were impacting the region. A full-category reduction of drought intensity and dryness was made over Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and much of Georgia and northern Florida."

But Goldsboro and other inland communities in the east are stuck in a rainfall deficit.

Davis says more rain will be needed to replenish groundwater and moisten dry soil. And he adds lake and reservoir levels across the Piedmont are still below normal.

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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