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Drought not quite over on the Catawba

The water level was low on Lake Norman in late August but has since rebounded.
The water level was low on Lake Norman in late August but has since rebounded. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Drought in the Catawba River basin isn’t over despite recent rainfall, a drought management group said Friday.

The group uses lake levels, stream flows and the U.S. Drought Monitor, a widely watched index, to determine drought stages.

Catawba lakes are now at normal levels, Duke Energy, the Catawba’s manager, told the Catawba/Wateree River Basin Advisory Commission Friday.

The six-month average of stream flows is also expected to continue increasing over the next two months. The three-month average of the Drought Monitor should return to normal conditions by the end of November, Duke said.

That leaves the basin at the first of four drought stages, which calls for voluntary conservation and for Duke to reduce its releases of water from dams.

Charlotte, at mid-basin, has received 5.5 inches of rain in October. Rainfall is still 4 inches below normal for the year.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender

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