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Western NC Enduring ‘Moderate’ Drought, NC’s Summer 4th Hottest on Record

By Jesse Wood

The High Country hasn’t seen very much rain lately, and this past summer was one of the hottest on record.

‘Bone Dry’ in Boone 



Boone has received 0.18 inches of rain in the first 22 days of September, according to RaysWeather.com’s archives.

The average amount of rain for this month is 4.79 inches. The least amount of precipitation for the month of September on record is 0.38 inches, which occurred in 1940 and the most is 23.01 inches in 2004, according to RaysWeather.com.

The U.S. Drought Monitor classifies Watauga and Avery counties as being in a “moderate” drought, which is above “abnormally dry” but not as dry as “severe,” “extreme” and “exceptional” droughts.

This morning RaysWeather.com posted on Facebook about this “bone dry” weather: “There has been very little rainfall so far this month. Next week might prove to be a bit wetter, but details are sketchy at best on prospects for significant rainfall. Any moisture would be welcome at this point.”

Hot Summer in NC, East Coast

Mean temperature rankings for the summer of 2016, retrieved using the SERCC's Climate Perspectives tool.
Mean temperature rankings for the summer of 2016, retrieved using the SERCC’s Climate Perspectives tool.

With the fall beginning today, the State Climate Office of North Carolina released its summer weather recap. Their reported stated that the average temperature across the state was 77.69°F, which ranks as the fourth-warmest summer on record since 1895.

Above-normal temperatures were the norm this summer as several places in the state recorded its hottest summer on record. Out of the past 122 years, this year was the hottest Asheville has been.

“While recent warm summers like 2010, 2011, and 2015 were all characterized by heat waves with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, this year was a bit different. Only a handful of sites across the state ever saw the mercury reach the century mark, but temperatures in the 90s were widespread and persistent throughout June, July, and August,” according to the State Climate Office of NC.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center expects above-normal temperatures to remain across the East Coast for the rest of September and October.

More of the same – dry and warm weather – could impact fall leaf color, according to the Sate Climate Office of NC:

“The stress from the ongoing warm, dry weather could affect the leaf color across the state. In fact, reports from the Mountains suggest that some leaves are already beginning to change. If conditions remain dry as we head into the typical peak of fall color — which begins in early October at higher elevations and late October in the Piedmont — the colors may also not be quite as vibrant, and some trees may drop their leaves early.

“Of course, things could still change between now and then, so keep an eye on the trees in your area and an eye on the blog as we track conditions this fall.”