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Halifax County remains in a moderate drought condition, a status which has now expanded to the southern Piedmont, the National Weather Service reported this morning.

Severe drought has developed in Wayne County, the NWS Raleigh bureau said.

Conditions have been very dry since early June with many areas receiving less than one inch of rain which is three to four inches below normal.

Temperatures have been above normal over the past 30 days with particularly hot conditions in the past one to two weeks.

Below average streamflow is reducing some area reservoirs and lake levels continue to fall.

In relation to agriculture soil moisture is rapidly drying across central North Carolina and has shown the most dramatic decrease in the coastal plain and northern Piedmont with significant impacts on corn.

Also this morning the state Department of Environmental Quality reported that the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council has expanded its drought classifications across the state, and introduced the severe drought classification, or D2, for 10 counties. 

DMAC classified Beaufort, Bertie, Columbus, Craven, Greene, Martin, Pamlico, Pitt, Stokes and Wayne counties as in severe drought in the latest drought advisory released Wednesday. 

In addition, DMAC expanded the moderate drought to 69 counties across the state. 

Another 21 counties were classified as abnormally dry. 

The latest classifications mean 99.98 percent of the state is now in drought, or experiencing abnormally dry conditions. 

“This is only the second time in the last decade that dry conditions have covered the whole state,” said Klaus Albertin, chair of the DMAC. “However, the occurrence during the growing season has made the impacts much worse than the 2021 drought period. 

“Agriculture is expected to see significant damage to corn, tobacco and soybean crops. Stream flow is in the lowest 10th percentile in much of central and eastern North Carolina. Groundwater levels are also dropping steadily.” 

Groundwater and surface water reservoirs typically see higher demand for water during the summer, and the ongoing dry conditions could result in water restrictions. 

For counties in the D2 classification, the DMAC strongly encourages counties to consider implementing drought response actions, including the implementation of Water Shortage Response Plans, if not already enacted; to participate in regional coordination of water resources; and to eliminate non-essential uses of water, among other recommendations. 

This has been the driest June on record in many locations, according to data from the Southeast Regional Climate Center. It’s also the driest June on record statewide,according to the North Carolina State Climate Office.