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Rains improve N.C. drought

The recent rainfall is beginning to lift the Charlotte area out of drought, according to a map of drought conditions released today.

The U.S. Drought Monitor, a widely-watched index that's updated weekly, shows Mecklenburg and counties to the west and north in severe drought. That's one stage better than the extreme-drought classification of two weeks ago. Cabarrus and Union counties are rated in moderate drought.

More good news: the Drought Monitor describes conditions as of Tuesday, before the 1.6 inches of rain that fell on Charlotte Wednesday. The city's rainfall is now slightly above normal for the year to date.

But droughts don't die easily because it takes months for groundwater to recover. The N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council, in a statement today, strongly urged continued water conservation.

See the N.C. drought map: