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Current U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions for North Carolina

The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country. This map shows drought conditions across North Carolina using a five-category system, from Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions to Exceptional Drought (D4). The USDM is a joint effort of the National Drought Mitigation Center, USDA, and NOAA. Learn more.

The following state-specific drought impacts were compiled by the National Drought Mitigation Center. While these impacts are not exhaustive, they can help provide a clearer picture of drought in North Carolina. 

D0 - Abnormally Dry
  • Pastures are dry; mild crop stress is noted; irrigation increases
  • Lawns are brown
72.9
of NC
D1 - Moderate Drought
  • Crop stress increases; hay production is reduced; producers feed hay to cattle early
  • Wildfire danger is higher than the seasonal normal
  • Streamflow is reduced; lake and reservoirs levels decline; voluntary water conservation begins
26.2
of NC
D2 - Severe Drought
  • Dryland crop yields are low
  • Wildfires are difficult to extinguish
  • Voluntary and mandatory water use restrictions are implemented; people are asked to refrain from nonessential water use
1.2
of NC
D3 - Extreme Drought
  • Hay is scarce; producers are purchasing outside of state; nitrate levels in forage are high
  • Outdoor burn bans are implemented; wildfires are widespread
  • Voluntary conservation is requested even in sufficient water level areas; mandatory restrictions become more severe; stream levels are extremely low
0
of NC
D4 - Exceptional Drought
  • Producers sell cattle; hay shortages and crop loss occur; farmers are stressed
  • Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is widespread in deer
  • Reservoirs are low; well water is low; residents are hauling water
0
of NC
D0 - Abnormally Dry
  • Pastures are dry; mild crop stress is noted; irrigation increases
  • Lawns are brown
66.2
of NC
D1 - Moderate Drought
  • Crop stress increases; hay production is reduced; producers feed hay to cattle early
  • Wildfire danger is higher than the seasonal normal
  • Streamflow is reduced; lake and reservoirs levels decline; voluntary water conservation begins
12.3
of NC
D2 - Severe Drought
  • Dryland crop yields are low
  • Wildfires are difficult to extinguish
  • Voluntary and mandatory water use restrictions are implemented; people are asked to refrain from nonessential water use
0
of NC
D3 - Extreme Drought
  • Hay is scarce; producers are purchasing outside of state; nitrate levels in forage are high
  • Outdoor burn bans are implemented; wildfires are widespread
  • Voluntary conservation is requested even in sufficient water level areas; mandatory restrictions become more severe; stream levels are extremely low
0
of NC
D4 - Exceptional Drought
  • Producers sell cattle; hay shortages and crop loss occur; farmers are stressed
  • Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is widespread in deer
  • Reservoirs are low; well water is low; residents are hauling water
0
of NC
D0 - Abnormally Dry
  • Pastures are dry; mild crop stress is noted; irrigation increases
  • Lawns are brown
50.8
of NC
D1 - Moderate Drought
  • Crop stress increases; hay production is reduced; producers feed hay to cattle early
  • Wildfire danger is higher than the seasonal normal
  • Streamflow is reduced; lake and reservoirs levels decline; voluntary water conservation begins
0
of NC
D2 - Severe Drought
  • Dryland crop yields are low
  • Wildfires are difficult to extinguish
  • Voluntary and mandatory water use restrictions are implemented; people are asked to refrain from nonessential water use
0
of NC
D3 - Extreme Drought
  • Hay is scarce; producers are purchasing outside of state; nitrate levels in forage are high
  • Outdoor burn bans are implemented; wildfires are widespread
  • Voluntary conservation is requested even in sufficient water level areas; mandatory restrictions become more severe; stream levels are extremely low
0
of NC
D4 - Exceptional Drought
  • Producers sell cattle; hay shortages and crop loss occur; farmers are stressed
  • Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is widespread in deer
  • Reservoirs are low; well water is low; residents are hauling water
0
of NC
0
people in North Carolina are affected by drought
2987158
counties with USDA disaster designations
-1905th
wettest May was in 2021, over the past -2021 years
-3911th
wettest year to date was in 2021, over the past -2021 years

Explore Drought Conditions by City and County

Summary

View up-to-date drought conditions down to the city and county level, including temperature, and precipitation conditions, key drought indicators, outlooks, historical conditions, and water supply, agriculture, and public health maps.

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Drought in North Carolina from 2000–Present

The U.S. Drought Monitor started in 2000. Since 2000, the longest duration of drought (D1–D4) in North Carolina lasted 155 weeks beginning on January 4, 2000, and ending on December 17, 2002. The most intense period of drought occurred the week of December 11, 2007, where D4 affected 66.2% of North Carolina land.

    The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is a national map released every Thursday, showing parts of the U.S. that are currently in drought. The USDM relies on drought experts to synthesize the best available data and work with local observers to interpret the information. The USDM also incorporates ground truthing and information about how drought is affecting people, via a network of more than 450 observers across the country, including state climatologists, National Weather Service staff, Extension agents, and hydrologists. Learn more.

    The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is an index to characterize meteorological drought on a range of timescales, ranging from 1 to 72 months. The SPI is the number of standard deviations that observed cumulative precipitation deviates from the climatological average. NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information produce the 9-month SPI values below on a monthly basis, going back to 1895. Learn more.

    Tree rings are used to extend the instrumental record of drought to over 2,000 years. The Living Blended Drought Product (LBDP) is a recalibrated data series of June-July-August Palmer Modified Drought Index (PMDI) values in the lower 48 U.S. states. This dataset blends tree-ring reconstructions and instrumental data to estimate the average summer PMDI values, which extend over 2,000 years in some parts of the U.S. Learn more.