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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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South Carolina Current Drought Status

State Climate Office      (803) 734-9100
SPECIAL NEWS RELEASE
Statement Date:December 21, 2007:

Special meeting January 22, 2008, at 10:00 AM

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will convene the South Carolina Drought Response Committee on Tuesday, January 22, 2008, at 10:00 AM. The meeting will be held at the S.C. Forestry Commissionís Harbison Environmental Education Center, located at Harbison State Forest at 5600 Broad River Road in Columbia.

The purpose of the drought meeting is to evaluate the drought status statewide. The committee will review climatic data, streamflow and lake level data, and drought impacts. Local response to the on-going drought will also be reviewed to determine if additional actions are needed to insure sustainable water supplies for next year. The S.C. Drought Response Committee upgraded the drought status from moderate to severe for all South Carolina counties except Jasper and Beaufort on September 5, 2007.

If you have any questions, please contact me, 803-734-9568 or email at mizzellh@dnr.sc.gov.

STATE DROUGHT RESPONSE COMMITTEE UPGRADES S.C. TO 'SEVERE' STATUS FOR ALL COUNTIES EXCEPT BEAUFORT AND JASPER

South Carolina Drought Status by County.
Table of all counties and drought status.
Drought Response Committee Meeting Sign-In sheet.

The state and local representatives from the Drought Response Committee decided September 5, 2007 that conditions have continued to deteriorate. The Committee upgraded the drought level to severe for all counties except Beaufort and Jasper. Drought levels are declared in four stages from incipient to moderate, severe followed by extreme. The state has been under a moderate drought declaration since June 6, 2007.

According to Hope Mizzell, SC State Climatologist, there was general consensus that most counties should be upgraded based on the drought impact to agriculture, forestry, and hydrology. Beaufort and Jasper were excluded due the heavy rainfall received over the past two weeks. There was also discussion about the potential rainfall from the low-pressure system off the coast, however, the committee agreed they could not make a drought declaration based on a forecast. The committee will closely monitor the system and if significant rain is received and conditions improve in areas they will reconvene. Likewise local committee members recognized that some indicators supported an extreme declaration for portions of the upstate and this would also be monitored closely.

While there is no recommendation for mandatory water restrictions from the SC Drought Response Committee there may be restrictions that result from local water system ordinances going to the severe level. The committee does hope the upgrade will increase awareness and water systems and industries are encouraged to closely monitor conditions and implement their local drought plans as needed. For more information about drought, visit the Office of State Climatology Web site at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/ or contact State Climatologist Hope Mizzell at (803) 734-9568 in Columbia.

Forestry and agriculture had reports of increasing concern about conditions. According to David Tompkins with the S.C. Department of Agriculture, "I've talked to a lot of people around the state, and few have received adequate moisture. Especially hard hit have been soybeans and cotton. Livestock producers are concerned about the lack of feed and forage going into winter. We've got to get a long period of normal rainfall to get back where we need to be."

Darryl Jones, Forest Protection Chief with the S.C. Forestry Commission stated, "The prolonged dry weather has negatively impacted forest resources in the state. In July and August, the SC Forestry Commission responded to 518 wildfires that burned more than 2,730 acres. Wildfire occurrence in July and August is typically very low. Fires have burned more intensely, requiring more personnel and equipment to control, and the high temperatures have made it much harder on our firefighters. Without widespread rainfall, the fall wildfire season, which typically occurs in October and November, has the potential to be very active."

State Hydrologist Bud Badr reported all lake levels are below normal (except Lake Murray, which is slightly above normal). Badr reports 12 of 17 drought-monitoring stations around the state are in a drought category with two in Severe and ten in Extreme. David Baize with S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported that his agency has received reports of 15 water systems with water restrictions in place. Ten are reporting voluntary restrictions with five reporting mandatory.

Power generating facilities have implemented their federally approved drought protocols and plans. Water suppliers have also implemented local drought measures. "The SC Drought Response Committee's decision demonstrates that coordination and consistency between local, state, and federal drought response is important for effective drought planning and management," said Steve de Kozlowski of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Interim Deputy Director.


Drought Status Table

Current Drought Status by County
Normal Incipient Moderate Severe Extreme
County
Status
County
Status
County
Status
County
Status
County
Status
ABBEVILLE
Severe
AIKEN
Severe
ALLENDALE
Severe
ANDERSON
Severe
BAMBERG
Severe
BARNWELL
Severe
BEAUFORT
Moderate
BERKELEY
Severe
CALHOUN
Severe
CHARLESTON
Severe
CHEROKEE
Severe
CHESTER
Severe
CHESTERFIELD
Severe
CLARENDON
Severe
COLLETON
Severe
DARLINGTON
Severe
DILLON
Severe
DORCHESTER
Severe
EDGEFIELD
Severe
FAIRFIELD
Severe
FLORENCE
Severe
GEORGETOWN
Severe
GREENVILLE
Severe
GREENWOOD
Severe
HAMPTON
Severe
HORRY
Severe
JASPER
Moderate
KERSHAW
Severe
LANCASTER
Severe
LAURENS
Severe
LEE
Severe
LEXINGTON
Severe
MARION
Severe
MARLBORO
Severe
MCCORMICK
Severe
NEWBERRY
Severe
OCONEE
Severe
ORANGEBURG
Severe
PICKENS
Severe
RICHLAND
Severe
SALUDA
Severe
SPARTANBURG
Severe
SUMTER
Severe
UNION
Severe
WILLIAMSBURG
Severe
YORK
Severe


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Sign-In Sheet

SC Drought Response Committee Meeting, September 5, 2007
Sign-In sheet
Name & AgencyName & Agency
1) Gregory Lambert, NWS
2) Steve Wilson, West Anderson Water District
3) Gene Hogan, Senate Ag & Natural Resource Commission
4) Marty Barfield, Pee Dee River Coalition
5) Dara Park, PDREC, Clemson University
6) Oscar Black
7) Scott Hawkins, Forestry Commission
8) Eric Odom, Orangeburg DPU
9) Brett Witt, DNR
10) Sarah Ellisor, USGS
11) John Baker, International Paper
12) George Galleher, Duke Energy
13) Kirsten Lackstrom, USC, Dept. of Geography
14) Nick Keener, Duke Energy
15) Tom Couch-City of Camden
16) Rhonda Brandt, USDA-NASS
17) Pickens Williams-Barnwell County
18) Seanna Adcox, The AP
19) Joe Derrick-Edgefield County
20) Marion Rizer-Colleton County
21) Brian Burgess-Saluda County Water & Sewer
22) Michael E. Hancock-L-EWA
23) Bill Payne-WSRS-SRS
24) Steve Hammond-Duke Energy
25) Bill Stroud
26) John Westcott-Spartanburg Water
27) Fred Boatwright-Orangeburg DPU
28) Darryl Jones-SC Forestry Commission
29) S. Ellisor - USGS
30) Dean Moss - BJWSA
31) Mike Caston-SJWD Water District
32) Francis Tubolino - SCEMD
33) Pickens Williams
34) Jim Witkowski
35) Kenneth McCaskill, USDA, FSA
36) David Baize - SCDHEC
37) Bill Taylor-Town of Cheraw
38) Stuart Ames-Progress Energy
39) Brad Powers - BRRWC
40) David Tompkins - SCDA

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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