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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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South Carolina Drought News Release

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Land, Water and Conservation Division
South Carolina Drought Response Program
Department of Natural Resources News (803) 734-4133

August 1, 2001

Drought Update for June and July

The summer weather pattern has been different from what climate forecasters anticipated, but no one's complaining.

According to Milt Brown, the South Carolina State Climatologist, the weather pattern this summer has been unusual because frontal systems continued to push into South Carolina. Normally, the Bermuda high builds inland over the state and blocks frontal systems from coming this far south during the summer.  Tom Ardrey, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service, explains that a huge high pressure system over the southern plains has allowed a long wave trough to remain over the East Coast.  This persistent longwave trough has helped increase the low level mositure over South Carolina and push frontal systems through the state triggering more widespread thunderstorms.

Many locations reported above normal rainfall and below normal temperatures since June 1st.  However, some locations still did not receive normal precipitation for the period (see Table).  The statewide preliminary rainfall for June and July has totaled 9.64 inches which is 0.7 inches below normal.  Areas in the midlands appear to be the driest with Columbia Airport reporting a rainfall deficit over 3 inches since June 1st.  Even for those locations that have not received normal rainfall below normal temperatures have helped relieve drought stress.  The statewide mean temperature since June 1st has averaged 77 degrees which is one degree below normal.  The avereage temperature for July, 78 degrees, was actually the coolest since 1984.  The average temperature in July 1984 was 77.  The highest temperature reported this summer was 101 degrees at Jamestown on July 9th.  Only a few stations have reached 100 degrees this summer and that was only on one or two days around July 9th. 

The below normal temperatures and near normal rainfall has helped reduce demand for water.  The Drought Information Center has not received any reports from public systems of water supply problems.  The rainfall pattern has also been consistent enough to maintain streamflow.

Accordinig to Robert Graham with the South Carolina Agricultural Statistics Service , compared to the last three years our crops are in much better condition statewide. However, more general rainfall is needed all across the state for continued crop growth and development. Normal rain will be particularly important for cotton and soybean growth.

The Drought Response Committee is expected to convene in the next two weeks to review the drought status.  For more information on drought conditions visit the drought web site

Summer Rainfall Totals for Selected South Carolina Stations June - July 2001

Name Precipitation
ANDERSON 12.88 5.2
GRNVL SPART 9.76 0.38
PICKENS 10.18 0.58
CHESTER 8.22 -0.58
CHERAW 9.75 -0.76
DILLON 8.36 -1.76
FLORENCE 13.11 3.18
MYRTLE BEACH 10.87 -1.13
WARE SHOALS 9.5 1.31
COLUMBIA 7.02 -3.28
ORANGEBURG 8.64 -1.56
WALTERBORO 15.67 3.38

Find out more about the State Climatology Office at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/ or by calling (803) 734-9100.

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