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12

counties with USDA Drought Disaster Designations (primary)

0

North Carolina residents in areas of drought, according to the Drought Monitor

12th

wettest May on record (since 1895)

41st

wettest January—May on record (since 1895)

Current North Carolina Drought Maps

Drought & Dryness Categories
% of NC
4.5
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
Drought Change Since Last Week
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions

Experimental
Experimental

Drought in North Carolina

Drought conditions in North Carolina are assessed by the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council (NC DMAC), a collaboration of drought experts from various government agencies in North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina, and organized by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources. Members of the NC DMAC meet weekly and submit their drought condition recommendations to the National Drought Mitigation Center for updates to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map. The NC DMAC evaluates variables including rainfall, streamflow, groundwater levels, regional climate, soil moisture, water storage in reservoirs, ecological conditions, municipal water restrictions, and the time of year. These conditions are closely monitored and can rapidly change, especially during the hot summer months, which bring about higher evaporation rates.

The Southeast region generally receives substantial precipitation and is often considered water-rich. However, droughts are not uncommon, and the Southeast has a long history of multi-year droughts, including the recently experienced record-breaking droughts of 2006–2008 and 2010–2012. These droughts had far-reaching impacts on agriculture, water availability for municipalities and industry, and wildfires. 

NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) launched the Southeast Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) in 2020, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The Southeast DEWS is a network of regional and national partners that share information and coordinate actions to help communities in the region cope with drought.

Reach out to Meredith Muth, the Regional Drought Coordinator for this region, for more information, or sign up for the Southeast DEWS newsletter.

North Carolina Current Conditions

A number of physical indicators are important for monitoring drought, such as precipitation & temperature, water supply (e.g., streamflow, reservoirs), and soil moisture. Learn more about monitoring drought.

North Carolina Precipitation Conditions

Inches of Precipitation
Percent of Normal Precipitation (%)
100%
Percent of Normal Precipitation (%)
100%

North Carolina Temperature Conditions

Maximum Temperature (°F)
60
Departure from Normal Max Temperature (°F)
0
Departure from Normal Max Temperature (°F)
0

North Carolina Streamflow Conditions

Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions

North Carolina Soil Moisture Conditions

20 cm Soil Moisture Percentile
70
100
0–100 cm Soil Moisture Percentile
70
100

Outlooks & Forecasts for North Carolina

Predicting drought in North Carolina depends on the ability to forecast precipitation and temperature within the context of complex climate interactions. View more outlooks & forecasts.

Future Precipitation & Temperature Conditions

Predicted Inches of Precipitation
1.75
Probability of Below-Normal Precipitation
100%
Probability of Above-Normal Precipitation
100%
Probability of Below-Normal Temperatures
100%
Probability of Above-Normal Temperatures
100%

Drought Outlooks for North Carolina

Drought Is Predicted To...
Drought Is Predicted To...

Historical Drought Conditions in North Carolina

Drought is a normal climate pattern that has occurred in varying degrees of length, severity, and size throughout history. Below, you can look back at past drought conditions for North Carolina according to 3 historical drought indices. The U.S. Drought Monitor is a weekly map that shows the location and intensity of drought across the country since 2000. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is a monthly depiction of drought based on precipitation (with data going back to 1895). And the paleoclimate data uses tree-ring reconstructions to estimate drought conditions before we had widespread instrumental records, going back to the year 0 for some parts of the U.S. View more historical conditions.

U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor (2000–present) depicts the location and intensity of drought across the country. Every Thursday, authors from NOAA, USDA, and the National Drought Mitigation Center produce a new map based on their assessments of the best available data and input from local observers. The map uses five categories: Abnormally Dry (D0), showing areas that may be going into or are coming out of drought, and four levels of drought (D1–D4). Learn more.

Drought Resources for North Carolina

Stay Informed: Local Drought Updates

Drought Alert Emails
Get email updates when U.S. Drought Monitor conditions change for your location or a new drought outlook is released.

Southeast DEWS Drought Email List
Get regional drought status updates right to your inbox, as well as drought news, webinars, and other events for the Southeast.

Southeast Climate Monthly Webinars
This webinar series provides the Southeast region with timely information on current and developing climate conditions, such as drought, floods, and tropical storms, as well as climatic events like El Niño and La Niña. 

Get Involved: Submit Local Drought Impacts

Drought in your area? Tell us how drought is impacting your community by submitting a condition monitoring report. Your submissions help us better understand how drought is affecting local conditions.