Forsyth County is no stranger to drought conditions. A deficit in precipitation can have devastating impacts on groundwater, reservoir storage, soil moisture and stream flow.  These shortages have ripple effects on the community, causing agricultural, economic, social and environmental damage.

See current drought status map via US Drought Monitor

Drought Categories & Possible Impacts

  • Abnormally Dry (heading toward drought): Brown lawns, dry pastures, mild crop stress
  • Moderate Drought: Reservoir/stream/well levels low, water shortages developing or imminent, voluntary water use restrictions requested, higher wildfire danger, some crop damage
  • Severe Drought: Water shortages common, water restrictions imposed, swimming areas and boat ramps begin to close, wildfires harder to extinguish, some crop losses likely
  • Extreme Drought: Widespread water shortages or restrictions, widespread wildfires, burn bans implemented, major crop losses
  • Exceptional Drought: Serious water shortages leading to water emergencies, significant widespread crop losses

Severe Droughts in Forsyth County since 2000

  • October 31, 2000 to January 16, 2001
  • February 6, 2001 to June 26, 2001
  • November 20, 2001 to November 12, 2002; parts of county in Extreme or Exceptional drought from March 12 to October 15, 2002
  • August 14, 2007 to August 26, 2008; parts of county in Extreme or Exceptional drought from September to October 2007, November 2007 to April 2008 (worst stretch) and August 2008

During the 2007-2008 drought, most of North Carolina experienced an Exceptional drought, the worst drought conditions ever recorded. The City of Winston-Salem implemented water conservation measures, and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities asked citizens to conserve water.