04/07/08 — Rain could keep restrictions away

View Archive

Rain could keep restrictions away

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 7, 2008 2:09 PM

The heaviest rainfall yet this year will likely enable Goldsboro residents to avoid stricter water restrictions, at least for the time being.

Wayne County received as much as three inches of rain over the weekend, drenching fields and pushing the Neuse River level to more than 13 feet -- a level more than 5 feet higher than the river was on April 3, and 9 feet higher than its April 1 level, according to U.S. Geological Survery data.

The heaviest rain fell between Saturday and Sunday mornings, with the weather center at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base measuring 1.93 inches for that 24-hour period.

City officials said this morning that they welcomed the rain and that it should prevent the city from having to take stronger measures to conserve water for at least a while.

"My guess is that we will just hold steady on our current course until we get a sense of security on the issue," City Manager Joe Huffman said before he had received water reports this morning.

Karen Brashear, the city public utilities director, agreed that the city should react cautiously.

"I think it would be advisable to be sure that's where we need to be," she said. "We just need to watch (the water levels) for a little bit."

Meteorologist Mike Moneypenny with the National Weather Service in Raleigh said Wayne received a "solid two to three inches throughout the entire county," with Goldsboro reporting 2.82 inches.

"Some areas, like down toward Mount Olive received closer to 2 (inches), but most of the county got closer to 3 (inches)," he added.

Not everyone was as fortunate.

"It really tampered off toward the northwest, in areas like Johnston County," Moneypenny said today.

Usually, in April, the average rainfall is about an inch per week, Moneypenny said.

"We got our whole month total in just three days," he said. "So anything from here on out is gravy."

Upstream, the Raleigh area received enough rain to push Falls Lake over its boundaries. That is good news for Goldsboro since the lake feeds the river that is the city's main water source.

"Falls Lake is full," Ms. Brashear said. "That's really good news."

A steady increase from the end of March, and an even steeper increase from April 5, Falls Lake came in this morning at 252.38 feet, according to USGS data.

The rain will not only stave off tougher residential restrictions, it also will help farmers in the area who suffered through a disastrous drought last year.

Kevin Johnson of the Cooperative Extension Service said that the rain would not only help farmers getting ready to plant corn and transplant tobacco but also give the current wheat crop a boost. The wheat is at a critical stage at which it needs water and the weekend rain was a blessing, he said.

"It's been a slow soaker," he said. "It's been nice."