Drought disaster

Published 12:32 am Thursday, July 21, 2011

We don’t know how the drought of 2011 ranks in comparison to past droughts in the Old North State.

We do know this drought is severe, and that it’s effects are being — and will be — felt in people’s wallets.

The prolonged dry weather likely will raise the prices of food and goods grown in drought-stricken areas, and utility bills are soaring as people bump down thermostats to escape the heat.

This week’s extreme temperatures are adding insult to injury, as eastern North Carolina wrestles with too-dry ground and too-humid air.

The North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council says 10 of our state’s counties are experiencing extreme drought.

Another 20 counties — Beaufort County among them — are in the midst of a severe drought, while 19 counties are being affected by a moderate drought.

Here are some proven, short-term methods for dealing with drought and heat:

  • Wear light, loose clothing;
  • If possible, avoid working outside during the hottest part of the day;
  • Drink plenty of water;
  • Check on shut-ins and seniors who don’t have air-conditioning;
  • Conserve water whenever you can (most home vegetable plants and ornamentals are withering anyway);
  • Make sure pets have shady places to rest and are hydrated.

This drought is as much a disaster as a hurricane or tornado outbreak, and it’s affecting a much larger region than your typical natural disaster.

By staying cool and waiting it out, most local residents should be able to weather the memorable drought of 2011.

And, for some of us, autumn can’t come soon enough.