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Continued worsening of drought conditions, potential impacts on agriculture and a strain on water resources are likely if the end of the month continues to be hot and dry and the same weather continues through the first half of July, the National Weather Service said today.

The NWS Raleigh bureau said in a drought-specific update there are high probabilities of above-normal temperatures in early to mid-July across central North Carolina with the three to four weeks outlook leaning to near to below rainfall through the middle of July.

The NWS said flash drought is upon the state with much of northern and eastern North Carolina entering moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions expanding westward.

“A two-category degradation in just two weeks qualifies as flash drought,” the agency said, “and its impacts are now obvious across the landscape.”

Those impacts include streams which have dried to a trickle, small ponds and roadside ditches completely dried and crops, lawns and gardens wilting and turning brown.

Some water systems in eastern North Carolina have implemented usage restrictions. As of this report there had been no word on restrictions being imposed locally.

"We continue to monitor the current drought conditions," said Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District CEO Thomas Wrenn. "We do not anticipate any restrictions at this time." 

Temperatures are expected to remain in the mid-90s next week.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council updated its advisory to reflect conditions as of Tuesday.

“Until further notice, the NCDMAC strongly urges the implementation of the following drought response actions — in addition to previous advisories — for all water users located in or dependent on water resources."

Those implementations include the following:

Adhere to local water use restrictions if any apply.

Participate, as appropriate, in regional and local coordination for the management of water resources.

Stay informed on drought conditions and advisories.

Project water needs and available water supply for a 90-day period from the issuance of this advisory.

Assess your vulnerability to the drought conditions and adjust water usage to prolong available supply.

Inspect water delivery system components — irrigation lines, fixtures, processing equipment, water system lines — repair leaks and ensure that existing equipment is operating as efficiently as possible.

Minimize nonessential uses of water.

Implement available public awareness and educational outreach programs emphasizing the need to conserve water.

Halifax and Northampton are among the counties listed as experiencing moderate drought conditions, according to the council.