BLOG: Are we in a drought?

BLOG: Are we in a drought?
(Source: The National Drought Mitigation Center)
(Source: The National Drought Mitigation Center)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - We know it's been pretty dry around here but are we actually in a drought?

Well, that depends on where you live.

First of all, there are five levels of drought. The lowest level is "Abnormally Dry" and the highest is "Exceptional Drought". If you live in North or South Carolina in the WBTV viewing area, you are either in one of the first two categories. The maps show what each county is experiencing. The yellow is the lowest - "Abnormally Dry". The definition given by the U.S. Drought Monitor is that an area is going into a drought, causing short-term dryness that could slow planting and growth of crops or pastures. The brown color is the next level.  "Moderate Drought" and means there could be some damage to crops, pastures, streams, reservoirs or wells is possible.

Voluntary water water-use restrictions are requested.

The majority of the WBTV viewing area is in the second level, as you can see.

Just to give you a little perspective, at the beginning of 2015, most of us were not in a drought. Three months ago, we were all in the lowest category.

How is this determined?

Things like The Palmer Drought Index, soil moisture, and stream flow are considered. So far in 2015, we have a rainfall deficit of 4.51" at the Charlotte airport. Obviously that only holds true for that one location and your city may have gotten more or less. That is why the other factors are used.

The good news is that we have a 40% rain chance on Monday and Tuesday. It may not break the drought but it certainly can't hurt!

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