• Jefferson Weaver

Rainfall Deficit Worsens for County

Columbus County needs some rain.

While the county has not yet reached drought conditions, conditions were listed as abnormally dry for much of the county in today’s update of the state Drought Monitor.

“When considering the last few weeks,” said Steven Pfaff of the National Weather service Wilmington office, “the gradient of below normal percent of rainfall values vary significantly across Columbus County.”

The far northern and northern half areas of the county are significantly dryer than the southern half of the county, according to NWS data.

Areas west and north of a line roughly following U.S. 701 didn’t get as much of a benefit from Hurricane Ian as those below the middle of the county.

Columbus isn’t alone, Pfaff pointed out.

“Only five to 25 percent of the normal rainfall has occurred north of a line from Florence to Wilmington,” he said. “A very dry weather pattern has been in place since Tropical Cyclone Ian impacted the area.”

Late October into November is generally the peak of fall fire season, according to the N.C. Forest Service. Two of the state’s most historic fires – at Sauratown Mountain and Grindstone Mountain – occurred in November 2021. The November 2001 Biven Bridge Fire in Bladen County consumed 200 acres and burned for more than two weeks.

Although no burning bans have been issued in Southeastern North Carolina, emergency officials are urging extreme caution with any kind of outdoor fires – especially campfires – until significant rainfall visits the area.

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