Despite consistent rainfall over the last several weeks, eastern North Carolina remains in moderate drought according to the latest data from the State Climate Office.
A half-inch to an inch of rain last weekend continued our wet start to 2022, according to an infographic released Thursday.
Climatologists at N.C. State University note that most of the state is still between two and six inches below its normal precipitation over the past three months, while groundwater and deeper soil moisture have not fully recovered from the dry fall.
The Outer Banks and northeastern North Carolina moved to moderate conditions last week, after spending nearly the last two months of 2021 in the severe category.
An open burning ban was instituted statewide in late November, but rain in early December brought some minor relief and allowed the ban to be lifted. Several wildfires scorched several areas in the mountains in late fall, including one that burned over 1,000 acres of Pilot Mountain State Park.
Virtually all of the state is experiencing dry conditions based on factors including streamflow, groundwater levels, reservoir levels, soil moisture, and fire danger.
The N.C. Drought Management Action Council said in late December that forecast models predicted warm, dry conditions could lead to drought conditions continuing through the winter months that a La Nina weather pattern often brings.
In past droughts, areas on the mainland that include several wildlife refuges have been prone to wildfires that have burned the nutrient-rich peat soils for months.