- Associated Press - Thursday, May 25, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A state official says North Carolina is free of drought or dry conditions for the first time in more than a year.

Linwood Peele, acting chairman of the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council, said Thursday that recent rainfall has brought relief statewide, particularly southwestern North Carolina. The last time the state enjoyed that status was March 2016.

Peele said streams, groundwater levels and soil moisture have improved and counties are close to long-term averages.

The council says conditions are closely monitored and can change quickly, especially during summer, when evaporation rates are higher. Meteorologist Michael Moneypenny of the National Weather Service says weather systems are typically weaker at this time of year and most rainfall comes from scattered showers and thunderstorms that pop up in the heat of the day.

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