Archived Outdoors

Mountains in moderate drought

Despite significant overnight rain Monday, Oct. 17, Western North Carolina has slipped farther into drought over the last week. 

In its latest update Thursday, Oct. 20, the N.C. Drought Advisory Council placed eight WNC counties in moderate drought, with an additional 25 counties in three pockets across the state rated abnormally dry. 

Haywood, Jackson, Swain, Macon, Clay, Graham, Cherokee and Buncombe counties are now in moderate drought as of conditions 8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18 — the first time in the past year this region has reached that level of dryness. According to the N.C. Forest Service, small fires in the mountains are getting harder to control as dry duff such as leaf litter builds up. Cheoah has received only 0.1 inches of rain this month — its driest start to October since 2016, a year of rampant wildfires in the mountain region. 

During moderate drought, people should minimize nonessential uses of water. Communities should implement public awareness and educational outreach programs emphasizing the need to conserve water; participate as appropriate in regional and local coordination for water resource management; project water needs and available water supply for a 90-day period; assess vulnerability to the drought conditions and adjust water usage to prolong available supply; and inspect water delivery system components for leaks and efficient operation. 

Drought updates are released at every Thursday based on data collected as of 8 a.m. Tuesday. 

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