Rainy days end Asheville’s long drought, but “hot, dry summer” ahead

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.

“It’s absolutely turned things around,” Griffin said of the recent rainy spell. “We’ve actually had to open the gates—let a little water out—to keep the reservoir at the right level.”

The last time such an abundance occurred, he added, was about “two and a half years ago. In 2007 the drought was at its worst and we put out voluntary restrictions. We didn’t have to do that in 2008 but it was still tight.”

But since last December, Griffin said, the situation has stabilized and there’s been more than enough water to go around.

In addition to WNC, other parts of the state—and the Southeast as a whole—have faced more severe drought over the past few years.

However, Asheville may need its current overflow—if the predictions are right, this summer won’t be easy.

“I just returned from the Forest Service’s long-term forecast,” Griffin told Xpress. “Beginning in May, we’re looking at about three to four months without rain: It’s going to be a long, hot summer.”

—David Forbes, staff writer



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