Recent rainfall helps ease drought conditions across eastern N.C., Outer Banks

NC Drought Monitor map for Jan. 6, 2022.

After one of the driest fall seasons in eight decades, consistent rainfall over the holidays has helped reduce the severity of the drought that has had a grip on eastern North Carolina for the last several months.

According to assistant state climatologist Corey Davis, most of the state has seen a one-category improvement on the N.C. Drought Monitor map released Thursday.

The Outer Banks and eastern North Carolina have moved from the severe to moderate drought category.

“(Last) week’s rain and snow event brought a widespread 2 or more inches of precipitation, with local totals of up to 5 inches. That helped refill reservoirs and saturate the ground for the first time since September,” according to an infographic produced by Davis on January 6.

But he cautioned the drought has not gone away by any means.

“While it’s very wet in the short-term, this week’s event did not fully eliminate the precipitation, streamflow, and deeper soil moisture
deficits accumulated in recent months. Drought remains where these conditions are dry dating back to the fall,” Davis said.

A cold front moving across the region to start this week brought up to an inch of rain with it, but there is no precipitation in the forecast for the next seven days.