#22. North Carolina


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– Share of state experiencing drought conditions (20-year average): 18,963 sq. mi. (38.5% of land area); 3,940,196 people (41.4% of population)

— Moderate drought: 9,794 sq. mi. (19.9% of land area); 2,072,329 people (21.8% of population)

— Severe drought: 4,837 sq. mi. (9.8% of land area); 1,029,003 people (10.8% of population)

— Extreme drought: 2,182 sq. mi. (4.4% of land area); 498,284 people (5.2% of population)

— Exceptional drought: 700 sq. mi. (1.4% of land area); 182,254 people (1.9% of population)

North Carolina is faring better than many states this year, with no areas experiencing drought. But with the exception of a brief reprieve between 2003 and 2004, the 2000s were not kind to North Carolina when it came to rainfall. The century opened with a drought that lasted 155 weeks between the very start of 2000 and the very end of 2002, where conditions were severe, extreme, or exceptional. Things only got worse in the second half of the decade. At the height of the drought in 2007, more than 66% of North Carolina was experiencing exceptional drought.

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