05/08/06 — Weekend's storms cut county's water deficit

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Weekend's storms cut county's water deficit

By Turner Walston
Published in News on May 8, 2006 1:49 PM

Heavy rains this weekend might have put a damper on activities for some Wayne County residents, but for local farmers and water officials, the showers were good news.

With water levels in Wayne County still below normal, this weekend's sustained heavy rains were welcome, they said. But was the weekend soak too much at once?

"It wasn't too much," said Kevin Johnson, row crop agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension. "We needed rain so bad. I think everybody's glad to get the rain."

Reports of rainfall across the county varied from 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches over the weekend, inching the city even closer to beating the water deficit that threatened to create severe drought conditions here.

"We're pretty excited," said Karen Brashear, Goldsboro public utilities director. "It looks like the rainfall deficit's only around 4.5 feet. If it'll just keep going like this every few days, we're going to get caught up."

In April, the Goldsboro City Council issued a declaration of voluntary water conservation. Any modification to the declaration would have to be made by City Council, Mrs. Brashear said.

According to National Weather Service records, the Neuse River water level stood at 6.76 feet at the Goldsboro station at about 8 a.m. today.

"It's almost like the rain we normally get in late March and April, we're getting now," Johnson said. "A lot of consistent, heavy rain. But it's helping with our deficits and drought conditions."

Moisture from the weekend showers will help corn, wheat, tobacco and soybeans, Johnson said. But the intensity of the rain could hurt the cotton crop, he added.

"It was a hard-packing rain, and it could be a problem on some of the cotton that hasn't come up yet," he said.

"As long as the soil stays damp, it won't get hard and crust, but eventually it's going to dry out and crust and get hard, and then the cotton plant has a hard time pushing through that crust. To a certain degree, we needed some moisture for the cotton to come up. We just didn't need that much that fast."