Current Eastern NC Drought

— Written By

Everyone should be in agreement that 2018 was a wet year – even before H. Florence – in eastern NC. So far, it appears that 2019 is trying to make up for the excess rainfall. The NC drought map for the week of June 25 shows most of the NC Coastal Plain as either abnormally dry or in moderate drought.

drought map

NC drought map for week of June 25, 2019. Source: Drought Management Advisory Council

Unfortunately, the US seasonal forecast calls for persistent drought in our region of the state, as may be seen in the map below. This forecast is for June – September.

Drought outlook map

Drought outlook for June 20 – September 30, 2019.

Of course, short-lived events, such as tropical storms and hurricanes, can change the outlook. A nice long soaking rain is definitely needed. The rivers and streams would agree. The graph below shows the water level at the USGS gage on the New River (Onslow County) at Northwest Bridge Rd.

water height graph

Water height at Northwest Bridge Rd. gage, Onslow County.

Mother Nature turned the water off around the end of April. The jagged line after May 1 is because the low flow makes it easier to see the tidal impact on the waterway at that location.

For waterways near the ocean, the salt wedge has been making its way further up river. There have been reports of dolphin in Jacksonville. If you live near the coast and use a well for irrigation, you may want to get a solution analysis of the water. It costs $5 through the NC Dept. of Ag and provides information on salt content, as well as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, pH, alkalinity, hardness, and several other parameters.