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Rains bring end to state’s drought for first time in two years

RALEIGH ó For the first time in more than two years, no part of North Carolina is experiencing drought.
Thursday’s federal drought map shows that widespread rainfall in recent weeks brought improvements throughout North Carolina, most notably in 14 mountain counties that had been the state’s only area experiencing drought. Fifty-three counties on opposite ends of the state remain abnormally dry, which means an area could return to drought without adequate rainfall.
“Certainly, we’re encouraged by the rainfall we’ve seen recently,” said Dee Freeman, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “But it’s safe to say we’re cautiously optimistic about what this means for the weeks and months ahead.
The drought of 2007-08 was the worst in North Carolina since recordkeeping began on the subject in 1895. The drought started Feb. 13, 2007, creeping from the mountains to the coast as a lack of rainfall depleted streamflows and reservoirs to record low levels. The drought prompted many towns to enact mandatory and voluntary water conservation restrictions and helped lead to a change in state law for how officials respond to future droughts.
Above average rainfall has helped 47 counties ó up from 36 last week ó reach normal conditions for this time of year. Many community water systems have left voluntary and mandatory restrictions in place. To see the map, go to www.ncdrought.org.

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