June brings three times the normal amount of rain

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(Winston-Salem Journal) — Mother Nature made a mockery of a kindergartener’s rhyme when the May flowers that are alleged to follow April showers were supplanted by two more months of rain.

With three times more rain than usual in June, the 11 inches recorded for the month made for the third-wettest June ever in Raleigh and one of the wettest in Winston-Salem.

“Basically, Winston-Salem got two or three months of rain in one month this June,” said Mike Moneypenny, a hydrologist at the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

But Moneypenny isn’t complaining.

With more than 27 inches of rain recorded in the state so far this year — a foot more than last year at this time — all 100 North Carolina counties are free of any drought conditions for the first time since April 2010.

“There’s an old adage that you need a flood to fix a drought, and after a couple of years of drought, this rain has been terrific,” he said. “Breaking the drought in the springtime has made the water supply sufficient to take us well into the fall.”

Because of the recent rainfall, the water tables are high, reservoirs are full, and the rivers and streams are at a good level, said Tom Reeder, a director with the division of water resources at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The rain also has been beneficial to farmers and industries that depend on groundwater and surface water, he said

“In a state like North Carolina where we heavily depend on surface water for agriculture, drinking water and farming, we prefer more rain than less rain,” Reeder said. “We’re in a much better place than states gripped by drought out west.”

Several states, including New Mexico, Texas and Arizona, remain in exceptional drought, the most severe level.

In 2007, 65 percent of North Carolina was in a state of exceptional drought, but rainfall over the years has helped to mitigate the dry conditions. North Carolina has had an abundance of water for four consecutive weeks.

The average rainfall per day in July is 0.1 of an inch— about 3 inches total for the month. In the first two days of July, the state already had accumulated half an inch. And that didn’t include what fell Wednesday and Thursday, when a brief storm in the early evening brought heavy rain and winds downtown.

Although flash-flood warnings remain in effect for parts of Northwest North Carolina, Moneypenny said he doesn’t think the abundance of rain will be a problem, especially since drier conditions are expected for the next week.

Besides the inevitable prevalence of mosquitoes in the coming weeks, he said that his only concern is oversaturation of the ground that could cause trees and power lines to be less stable in a tropical storm.

Still, the benefits outweigh the small risk of toppled trees.

“As long as the rivers aren’t flooding and trees aren’t (falling), we’re happy to see the rain,” Moneypenny said.