05/09/08 — Wayne County still abnormally dry

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Wayne County still abnormally dry

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on May 9, 2008 1:54 PM

Wayne County residents have seen a good deal of rain lately and it has been good news -- the drought in the county has eased somewhat.

But Wayne remains "abnormally dry," according to a report released Thursday by the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council.

The category is the lowest on a scale of five that measures drought conditions based on a number of factors including stream flow, ground water levels, the amount of water stored in reservoirs, weather forecasts, actual precipitation and the time of year.

Last week, the council reported that Wayne County dropped out of the more serious categories into the current category for the first time in months.

In February, Wayne was still listed as one of the counties suffering from an exceptional drought -- the worst classification.

Even though the drought situation is much better off than it was earlier this year, Goldsboro residents are still keeping a watchful eye on their usage and a lighter hand on their garden hoses.

Many are resisting the urge to go water wild, mostly because they don't need to use much water to keep outside plants growing, Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear said.

"There have been frequent enough rains that people aren't watering heavily," she said.

Consumption has stayed at about the same level over the last month, averaging 4.3 million gallons per day. That number is still several million gallons below what residents were using toward the end of 2007, a time when drought conditions were more serious.

Mrs. Brashear hopes that citizens will continue to conserve but she said she expects consumption to rise a little as summer approaches.

"When we get into hotter temperatures, we will probably start seeing consumption going up," she said.

With warmer weather comes drier weather, she said, and rains are not expected to be as prevalent.

Drought Council Chairman Woody Yonts agreed, saying "we still need to put up our guard."

"Last year, we were at this level. ... and then we had the drought," Yonts warned. "The rains have made things better, but we are still very concerned."

Thirteen counties in the state remain in an extreme drought, 25 are in a severe drought, 21 are in a moderate drought. Thirty-five counties are in abnormally dry, according to drought council data. There are no counties currently listed as being in an exceptional drought.