03/20/09 — Area no longer 'abnormally dry'

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Area no longer 'abnormally dry'

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on March 20, 2009 1:46 PM

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The Neuse River was expected to crest late today at slightly over 13 feet. This view shows the Sam Casey Bridge south of Goldsboro. Recent rains have helped push Wayne out of the abnormally dry category.

For the first time since early February, Wayne County isn't on the state drought scale.

The weather has helped to drop the county from the abnormally dry category on the U.S. Drought Monitor scale, with rain as a common factor in the skies earlier this week and last.

The county was reported to be in the abnormally dry category, the lowest and least dangerous category on the scale Feb. 10, and had remained in that category until Thursday.

Wayne has received nearly 2 inches of rain since the beginning of March, according to the National Weather Service, and about 6 inches since the first of the year -- slightly less than the amount received in the first few months last year.

And the rain that Wayne County residents saw trickling down their windshields may be the last they see for about a week, National Weather Service meteorologist Ron Humble said.

"The only rain of any significance after (Thursday) night will be during the day next Thursday," he said. "It looks like it would be a 'wedding rain,' as much as a tenth of an inch. It would settle the dust and give the plants a drink."

The Neuse River, Goldsboro's main water source, is expected to crest today at more than 13 feet.

The river was down to 9 feet only five days ago, and down to 4 feet a month ago.

Forty-five counties, including Duplin, remain in the abnormally dry category, the lowest rating on the dryness scale. Fifteen are in moderate drought, the next highest level. A dozen counties in the far southwestern corner of the state are considered to be in severe drought.