- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - It is too soon to worry about a drought even though rainfall has been below normal in western North Carolina since November, officials said.

Asheville has received about 13 inches of rain this year, the Asheville Citizen-Times reports (https://avlne.ws/1Fwv1TE). That’s about 3.5 inches below normal.

“It is fairly below normal, but you could have some systems come through over the next month that would erase that,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Taylor told the newspaper. “It’s not really all that notable - not yet, at least.”

Records from the Asheville Regional Airport show a surplus of rain in April helped offset months of sub-par precipitation, said Rebecca Cumbie, a climatologist with the North Carolina Climate Office. She said it has not been a problem in the eastern part of North Carolina.

Cliff Ruth with the Buncombe County Cooperative Extension Service says if the dry weather continues, there will be problems for farmers.

“It’s kind of premature to say we’ve got a problem,” Ruth said. “I suspect we could see some issues soon.”

Many commercial farmers who grow nursery plants, vegetables and berries rely on irrigation systems to get them through dry spells, Ruth said.

The dry pattern comes on the heels of two years of plentiful rain in Asheville. The city received about 46.9 inches of rain in 2014, slightly above the annual average of 45.6 inches, according to National Weather Service records. In 2013, Asheville received a record 75.2 inches of rain.


Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, https://www.citizen-times.com

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