A large part of N.C. is on the verge of drought again, say state water officials. Screenshot map from state website.
The month of December had been off to a warm start in Western North Carolina, with the average temperature in Asheville for the first 10 days of the month reported at 10.2° F above normal. However, Dec. 10’s nighttime cold front brought an end to the warmth. It is feeling like the holiday season has finally arrived — even bringing some light snow to the higher elevations in WNC. The image below shows a light dusting of fine snow on a white pine at 4,000 ft in Madison County on Tuesday morning, Dec. 11.
The story of this summer has certainly been that of climate extremes. In Western North Carolina, we’ve had quite a bit of rain, while well over half of the lower 48 states remain in drought. Our moist summer has produced jungle-like conditions in many of our yards (errr — maybe just mine), but has also produced some breathtaking sunsets with all the moisture in the air.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of water to the Earth’s climate system. In its three phases — liquid, solid and gas — water helps to drive our local weather as well as our regional climate. Most of us don’t think about plain ol’ water too often, but it’s when we have too much or too little of this precious resource that we really pay attention to it.
N.C. Division of Forest Resources updates this map regularly to show drought and fire-danger levels across the state.
Never underestimate the weather. Sure, the French Broad River crested a tad above flood stage on May 27 at Blantyre, near Brevard. Yes, May has brought us more than 8 inches of rain (that’s nearly a record, twice what’s been typical since 1971, and definitely greater than 2008’s paltry 0.81 inches, according to the National […]
Steady rains have meant that, for the first time in two and a half years, Asheville’s water system is full to overflowing, according to Interim Water Director Robert Griffin. But the forecast calls for a harsh summer: possibly three to four months without rain.
Corn and tomatoes are both water hogs on the farm. But in North Carolina’s continuing drought, the first crop suffered heavy losses for the second consecutive year, while the latter prospered. That’s the nature of farming, perhaps, but at least for some growers hit hard by the drought, help may come not from rain but […]
Editor’s note: Liz McCarthy, a UNCA senior from Crystal Lake, Ill., who’s majoring in photography, spent the past few months serving as a photo intern for Mountain Xpress. In June, she embarked on a mission to document the area’s small farms and how their products reach local markets. But as the summer wore on—and the […]
The rain came down in bucket-loads this week, and so did the news. Along with a host of reports about the rainy storm’s effects, there was news this week about Haywood Regional Medical Center getting back on its financial feet; a land-transfer tax vote in Clay County; the end of window inspection stickers for autos; and a big celebration of apples in Henderson County.
It’s late August in Western North Carolina, and the trees are drooping due to lack of rain. The French Broad River is at a record low level, gas prices are higher than ever and the skies are stained with smog. Pedal power: The Southern Energy and Environment Expo offered bright ideas for people of all […]
Asheville water supply still OK City offices may move to Innsbruck Mall Despite earlier reports that an alternative bridge design produced by a local volunteer group was on track for consideration by the N.C. Department of Transportation, it’s actually still a step or two behind the other options, a DOT engineer told Asheville City Council […]
Highlights from the August 19 work session.
We’re wanting for rain, but bursting with news. This week, reports on the drought, a new casino in Cherokee (and a vote on permitting alcohol in gaming facilities there), a new roller coaster at Ghost Town in the Sky, local Libertarian developments and more.
When the mercury hit 90 in June, my green tin roof popped and pinged. The sound sent me reaching for a glass of ice-cold tea, though if I were more Southern belle and less teetotaler, I might have called for a fan and a mint julep. If I were more hip, I’d demand a mojito, […]
Several years ago, poet/farmer Wendell Berry penned a controversial essay titled “Why I am Not Going to Buy a Computer,” in which he presented a clearheaded rationale for not buying into this form of technological slavery. His critics countered that computers enable them to follow and respond to the numerous environmental issues we face. Berry […]
Much of Western North Carolina fell under the two most severe categories of drought — exceptional and extreme — in the June 19 advisory from the U.S. Drought Monitor of North Carolina. And all 100 counties in the state fell under one of the five drought categories, with response actions strongly urged.
The more I wrote about drought this spring, the more it rained. I considered starting a second career as a contrarian rainmaker. I could lease my talents out to water-hungry towns, an editor suggested. Still, I wondered what I would write about. The rain gave me more time indoors, even as I fell behind in […]
Voluntary conservation measures instituted by the city last October are paying off—the North Fork Reservoir is full to overflowing, Water Resources Director David Hanks reported during the Asheville City Council’s April 8 formal session. North Fork, the city’s primary water source, is currently about 3 inches over “full pool” and is actually running over its […]
A welcome sound woke me at 2 a.m. one recent Saturday: Plunk … plunk … . I listened: It was faint and dull. It could be a raccoon fiddling with my trash-can lid (too faint for a bear, too loud for a mouse—we have both here). Plunk. Plunk. Pit. Pat pat pitter-pat. Rain hitting my […]