Rain to help drought

November 12, 2009 5:11:50 PM PST
Considering it's been pouring with rain for days, the timing of a state drought report Thursday was interesting.The data shows all counties in the heart of Carolina are either abnormally dry or in a moderate drought. So while it's been wet and nasty outside this week, we need it badly.

"We've really just had, I believe, the biggest rain event we've had the entire year," explained Jeff Orrock with the National Weather Service.

Orrock says most counties in and around the Triangle have picked up from three to five inches of rain this week. So, the most recent drought map is probably outdated on the same day it was released.

That should be corrected within days when the experts take a close look at the effects of this week's rain.

"By the time they have the next conference call on Tuesday we really will be seeing the benefits from this," said Orrock.

Just days ago, reservoirs that supply drinking water to the triangle - Jordan and Falls lakes - were signaling a return to a serious drought for the first time in a year. Thursday, they were already looking better and will only continue to rise in the coming days.

When it comes to recharging reservoirs, lakes and storage ponds, meteorologists say this about the best rain we could have had. First of all, there were few downpours. Although the rain was heavy at times, it was mostly a steady, soaking rain over several days. And the amount of rain came right up to, but not over, the amount that usually causes flooding in the Triangle.

And lastly, it came at the perfect time of year.

"The growing season is over so you don't have the plants pulling the moisture out of the soil like you normally would. So this is getting into our recharge time of year. So, heavy rainfalls in the fall and the winter actually do a lot to help bring back up the water level," Orrock explained.

Orrock says now that we're catching up, if the remainder of the fall and winter just bring normal rainfall totals we should enter spring in good shape.

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