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Severe drought parching Charlotte region’s farmland

"Every year it gets drier and drier" Monroe farmer said in the midst of a 2007 drought.
"Every year it gets drier and drier" Monroe farmer said in the midst of a 2007 drought. The Charlotte Observer

Severe drought has settled over three counties west of Charlotte, state officials say, as livestock and crops suffer through a dry summer.

Gaston, Lincoln and Cleveland counties have been upgraded from moderate to severe drought, the state Drought Management Advisory Council said Thursday. That’s the second of four drought stages.

“Pastures have dried up, and we are seeing impacts to soybeans and corn crops,” said Mike Yoder, assistant director of the North Carolina State Extension.

It’s the first time any part of North Carolina has reached severe drought in more than two years.

Twenty-one counties in the western Piedmont and foothills, including Mecklenburg County, are in moderate drought. Twenty-three more are abnormally dry.

In addition to spotty rainfall that has left Charlotte 3 inches under normal for this time of year, the State Climate Office said, Charlotte and Concord are enduring their fourth-warmest summers to date.

Charlotte’s water utility asked for voluntary conservation measures last week.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender

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