Carolinas Cold but Nearly Drought Free

I’m talking with Assistant State Climatologist Corey Davis from the State Climate Office of North Carolina. And you know, it was just a few months ago, Corey, that you and I were talking about how dry it was and how much we really needed some rain. We don’t have to talk about that in North and South Carolina anymore because, boy, things have really turned around, especially starting right at the first of the year.

That’s right, Mike, and we’ve got some good news this week. And that’s that the drought the moderate drought conditions are almost gone for North and South Carolina. We have wiped away this severe drought that was left in the southwestern corner of the state of North and South Carolina both just have a very small area with that moderate drought remaining, but the lowest level in terms of coverage of moderate drought since the beginning of October in North Carolina since mid-August in South Carolina. So you’re right, that goes to show how dry that fall was.

And we have the El Nino pattern to thank for this is that right?

That’s right continues to point in that direction. The types of systems that we’re seeing coming in from the south and southwest, the amount of moisture that they’re bringing in, and just the frequency of these systems moving through to like you said, especially since the beginning of the year, that’s all very typical for El Nino event, and especially a stronger El Nino event like this one. The longer it goes on, the more it reminds me of the strong El Nino back in 2015 and 2016. That year also had a very wet December. That continued over into January and February. That was also a warmer winter overall not as much snow across the Carolinas that year. But we have seen at least some cooler weather returning this week.

And the good news on this is that we’ve seen pasture conditions and those winter crops like winter wheat have really shown improvement.

They have. We got an update from the USDA earlier this year just noting especially across South Carolina, but even in North Carolina, how the rain has really helped the winter wheat crop for the crop that was planted back in the fall during the dry times it has now been able to germinate and start growing, but some areas really hadn’t been able to even plant their winter wheat until December earlier this month with the onset of the rainfall. Now we’re seeing widespread good to excellent conditions for those crops. So it’s not the time of the year where we’re too worried about agriculture but we have seen a nice turnaround for those crops as well.