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Holiday rains ease drought conditions in western NC

The number of North Carolina counties in severe drought has shrunk to five, from 21 last week, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. They are the five western-most counties: Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon, and Swain.
NCDrought.org
The number of North Carolina counties in severe drought has shrunk to five, from 21 last week, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. They are the five western-most counties: Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon, and Swain.

Heavy rains this week have eased drought conditions across much of North Carolina, according to data released Thursday.

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map shows just the five western-most counties in severe drought, down from 21 a week ago. Those are Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon, and Swain counties.

Thirty-one counties are now in "moderate drought," from the mountains to the Lake Norman area, as well as parts of Union, Stanly and Anson counties.

The Charlotte region has gotten 2 to 3 inches of rain since Christmas Eve and conditions in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties are now listed as "abnormally dry."

The eastern one-third of North Carolina is normal.

Rains in the mountains and northern Piedmont have also raised lake levels downstream. Some lakes, including those along the Catawba River, are now slightly above normal levels.

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David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.