Wake County Hazard Mitigation Plan - January 2020


Table 4.18 – Drought Impacts Reported for Wake County, January 2009 through December 2018



Years Reported


2 2

2016, 2012 2018, 2011


Plants & Wildlife


2018, 2017, 2010

Relief, Response & Restrictions

7 1

2017, 2016, 2012, 2011

Society & Public Health Water Supply & Quality



2018, 2017, 2012, 2011

Source: Drought Impact Reporter, http://droughtreporter.unl.edu

Probability of Future Occurrence Probability: 3 – Likely

Over the 20-year (1,040 week) period from 1998 through 2017, Wake County experienced 392 weeks of drought conditions ranging from abnormally dry to exceptional drought. This equates to a 38 percent chance of drought in any given week. Of this time, approximately 114 weeks were categorized as a severe (D2) drought or greater; which equates to an 11 percent chance of severe drought in any given week. Climate Change The Fourth National Climate Assessment reports that average and extreme temperatures are increasing across the country and average annual precipitation is decreasing in the Southeast. Heavy precipitation events are becoming more frequent, meaning that there will likely be an increase in the average number of consecutive dry days. As temperature is projected to continue rising, evaporation rates are expected to increase, resulting in decreased surface soil moisture levels. Together, these factors suggest that drought will increase in intensity and duration in the Southeast.

Vulnerability Assessment Methodologies and Assumptions

Vulnerability to drought in Wake County is based on historical occurrences of drought in the planning area and generalized concerns regarding potential drought consequences. Agricultural vulnerability was estimated using data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture and a review of past claims related to drought. People Drought can affect people’s physical and mental health. For those economically dependent on a reliable water supply, drought may cause anxiety or depression about economic losses, reduced incomes, and other employment impacts. Conflicts may arise over water shortages. People may be forced to pay more for water, food, and utilities affected by increased water costs. Drought may also cause health problems due to poorer water quality from lower water levels. If accompanied by extreme heat, drought can also result in higher incidents of heat stroke and even loss of human life. Property Drought is unlikely to cause damages to the built environment. However, in areas with shrinking and expansive soils, drought may lead to structural damages. Drought may cause severe property loss for the agricultural industry in terms of crop and livestock losses. The USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) maintains a database of all paid crop insurance claims. Between 2007-2017, the sum of claims paid for crop damage as a result of drought in Wake County was $7,083,164, or an average of $643,924 in losses

Wake County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan 2019


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