06/16/08 — Wayne not under drought conditions

View Archive

Wayne not under drought conditions

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on June 16, 2008 1:47 PM

Despite warnings from Gov. Mike Easley that North Carolina remains under the threat of drought, Goldsboro Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear said that water on the Neuse River is still at a reasonable level.

Across the state, 32 counties are in extreme drought, 15 are in severe, 24 are in moderate, 26 are abnormally dry and three are not in any drought category.

Wayne is among those classified as abnormally dry, with the area near Newton Grove in moderate drought.

But, Ms. Brashear said, even with the recent hot, dry weather, water is still well above the intake point on the Neuse River, and there are no plans to change the voluntary restrictions the city has been under since late April.

"We're monitoring levels, of course, but we're hoping the weather will continue to rain," she said. "Falls Lake (where the Neuse's water originate from) is near full."

So far this year, according to the North Carolina Climate Office, Wayne County has received 23 inches of rain -- just above the normal 21.31 for this time of year.

And so, said county Cooperative Extension agricultural agent Kevin Johnson, even though the recent hot, dry weather took a bit of a toll on county crops, especially corn -- it's nothing like the drought that devastated some farms last year.

"Corn (was) looking rough," he said. "The (recent) rainfall helped out a bunch. It was looking good this morning."

The problem, he explained, was that even though corn started off nicely, it hadn't had quite enough time to get established before the weather patterns changed, with temperatures reaching into the 100s in June and less than a tenth-of-an-inch of rain falling before the two to three inches reported at the Cherry Research Farm's weather station today.

But, Johnson added, that doesn't necessarily mean the crop's lost for everybody in the county.

"It's critical, but it's not that critical. It's not done by any means," Johnson said. "Everybody got a little bit, but the rainfall we've had was sporadic (because of thunderstorms). It was some short-term relief. We've got to keep getting rain."

Other crops, though, he added are still doing well, including tobacco and wheat, which is currently being harvested in impressive amounts.

The wheat, he explained, benefited from a cool, wet spring and was already mature when the heat arrived, while tobacco usually can handle a hot spell or two.