August 29, 2008

Heavy Rains but Little N.C. Drought Relief

Heavy rain from Tropical Storm Fay delivered relief to North Carolina but not enough to end the state's drought, scientists said.

Jerard Bales, director of the U.S. Geological Survey North Carolina Water Science Center, said the record-breaking drought is far from over. "Despite the currently high stream flows, effects of the drought likely will linger, as ground-water levels have not returned to normal," Bales said Friday in a statement. "Moreover, the intensity of the storms resulted in rapid runoff, providing little opportunity for the ground-water system to be replenished."

Rainfall totals in excess of 10 inches were reported in parts of the Charlotte, N.C., region on Tuesday and Wednesday, USGS said.

Stream flows throughout western and central North Carolina are at normal to above normal conditions but stream flows across much of the Coastal Plain remain below normal.

Still, the USGS said the western third of North Carolina remained in extreme drought with much of the central and northeastern sections of the state considered in severe drought.