WILMINGTON — A late spring rain that descended upon scattered areas of Southeastern North Carolina on Sunday helped wet Robeson County’s whistle but didn’t make much of a dent in the area’s rainfall deficit, according to the National Weather Service.
Official rain gauges at the Lumberton Airport recorded about 1 inch of rain, said Tim Armstrong, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington.
Armstrong said there were unconfirmed reports that as much as 2 inches of rain was experienced in Rowland and near the border with South Carolina.
“Rainfall this time of year is very fickle, where one area can see 2 inches and nearby hardly any,” Armstrong said.
Through Monday, the area has had just shy of 15 inches of accumulated rainfall since Jan. 1, said Armstrong. The normal rainfall total by this date is about 20.5 inches, leaving Lumberton with a rain deficit of about 5.5 inches.
“It would take several systems producing widespread rainfall to erode the deficit,” Armstrong said.
The forecast through the end of the week calls for a chance of rain each day, but nothing widespread. The best chance for noticeable precipitation could come Thursday, when a front is expected to push through and bring with it a 40 to 50 percent chance of rain.
Farmers breathed a sigh of relief after the Sunday rain, said Michelle Shooter, agricultural agent with the Robeson County Cooperative Extension Office.
The wet stuff came as some farmers are planting soybeans.
“I think the farmers will be able to take advantage and get their soybeans germinated,” said Mac Malloy, field crops agent for the Extension Office.
Sunday’s rain was “a kind of spotty event,” Malloy said, with St. Pauls getting only about one-fifth an inch.
“The problem we have now is the evaporation rate is so high, what rainfall we do get isn’t going to last very long — it gets absorbed fast,” he said.
The lack of rain and punishing heat this spring have been taking their toll on corn, Shooter said.
“Hopefully the corn will bounce back, that it’s not too late,” she said.
The ongoing wheat harvest has been good.
“We had an outstanding wheat harvest — some people said, the best they’d ever seen in a lifetime. The cool dry March is really what wheat likes. The yields this year have been so impressive,” Shooter said.
Today there is a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m. for Lumberton. It’s expected to be mostly sunny, with a high near 86.The rain chance continues into the evening.
Saturday is the first day this week without some mention of rain.
Last week, Robeson County and 31 other counties in the state were listed in abnormally dry condition, according to the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council. Abnormally dry is not drought, but means drought could emerge without adequate rainfall.