January is on track for a month of average rainfall locally. Pairing that with last month's above-average rainfall has led to higher lake levels and boat ramps reopening after months of intense drought conditions.
• January's rain, sleet and snow helped the drought, but forecasters expect below-normal rain during the next three months. Temperatures could be higher than normal in February, March and April, said Andrew Kimball, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. And they're predicting less than normal rainfalls.
• Duke Energy's estimate for when Stage 4 drought restrictions -- which would eliminate all nonessential water use -- could happen is March, but recent rainfall will extend this estimate much further into the future.
• Some Lake Wylie boat ramps recently have reopened, and Duke spokeswoman Marilyn Lineberger said Duke monitors boat ramps weekly. When more are deemed safe for the public, they'll be opened as well. Boaters can access Lake Wylie at Nivens Creek and two ramps near the Buster Boyd Bridge.
-- Kimberly Dick
The area drought by the numbers
The amount of January rainfall through Wednesday
The area's rainfall deficit for the month
At least 16 inches
The area's rainfall deficit since January 2007
How many feet Lake Wylie was below the target level Wednesday. It's risen a foot since Dec. 23.