02/23/09 — It's dry but not danger zone yet

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It's dry but not danger zone yet

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on February 23, 2009 1:46 PM

For the second week in a row, Wayne County has been back on the state drought monitor.

After coming off of the drought scale completely in November, the county moved to the lowest -- and least dangerous -- category on the scale, abnormally dry, Feb. 10.

Weather experts are unsure right now whether the county will receive enough precipitation to offset drought conditions as the temperatures turn warmer.

As for this week, county residents will see lower than normal temperatures as a cold, high pressure system moves in from Canada, said Brandon Dunstan, a meteorologist wuth the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

"You will see temperatures in the lower 40s today and tomorrow," he said.

Tuesday night or Wednes-day morning weather conditions might bring a few flurries trickling down from the sky.

"But it's not looking good (for snow) at this time," Dunstan said. "It will be very dry."

On Wednesday, temperatures will likely rise to the middle to upper 50s as the cold front moves away from the area, and temperatures will be closer to normal for this time of year -- middle to upper 60s -- on Thursday and Friday, Dunstan added.

The weekend is a little less certain.

"We aren't sure what the cold front is going to do yet," Dunstan said.

Right now, the area is in "weak La Nina conditions," he said, meaning very little precipitation and weather inactivity, the exact opposite of El Nino conditions.

At Raleigh-Durham International Airport, where the National Weather Service measures precipitation, the area is 3.28 inches below normal for this year.

After La Nina conditions subside, as they likely will in the spring and summer, Dunstan said meteorologists expect to see more precipitation.

Goldsboro Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear said she can only make predictions based on weather reports concerning the drought.

Currently, she said the Neuse River, Goldsboro's main water source, is full.

She expects that as the temperatures start to get warmer in the summer months, people will use more water as they water outside and start to wash their cars more often.

"And when the trees come out, they use more water," she said.

But she doesn't believe it is the time to start discussing any conservation measures. She doesn't foresee any drought problems creeping up in the next few months.

And looking back to last February, and how the county was in the highest drought category of exceptional drought, she thinks that residents are doing OK on water.

"We are a lot better than last year," she said.