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South Carolina Current Drought Status

State Climate Office                
NEWS RELEASE #13-1          DNR News 803-667-0696
January 31, 2013

SC Drought Committee downgrades drought status for 26 counties

South Carolina Drought Map for January 31, 2013

For previously issued drought statements see the archived status reports.

Table of all counties and drought status.
Drought Response Committee Meeting Sign-In sheet.

Discussion:

The S.C. Drought Response Committee, meeting via conference call on Jan. 31, downgraded the drought status one level for 26 counties.

Twelve counties were downgraded to moderate including: Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, Abbeville, McCormick, Greenwood, Edgefield, Saluda, Newberry, Lexington, Aiken and Barnwell. Fourteen counties were downgraded to incipient including: Greenville, Spartanburg, Cherokee, York, Laurens, Union, Chester, Fairfield, Richland, Sumter, Calhoun, Clarendon, Williamsburg and Georgetown. Eight counties were maintained at moderate drought including Orangeburg, Bamberg, Allendale, Dorchester, Berkeley, Hampton, Colleton and Jasper. Ten counties in the Pee Dee were maintained at incipient drought. Only two counties were upgraded which include Beaufort and Charleston moving to moderate.

According to S.C. State Climatologist Hope Mizzell, the below-normal rainfall pattern has continued for over half of the state from the midlands to the coast. Charleston Airport recorded its driest January on record with only 0.35 inches (the previous record was 0.63 in 1950). Hilton Head Island 4.0N has only received 2.78 inches since Dec. 1. Other Community Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) rainfall totals are provided in the table below.

Much above-normal rainfall occurred across the region that needed it the most, the Upper Savannah River Basin. Many CoCoRaHS rainfall observation stations in the northwest corner of the state reported more than 14 inches since Dec. 1. The last time these counties received this much winter rainfall was 2009-2010. Due to the abundant rainfall in Oconee and Pickens over the last 60 days, the Committee discussed downgrading the drought two levels for those counties, but the Committee decided to be cautious and downgrade only one level to moderate.

"The committee electing to downgrade only one level was driven by an effort to balance an overly positive five to six weeks of rainfall against a longer-term trend of much below normal rainfall," said Scott Willett, Anderson Regional Joint Water System executive director. "All the forecasts that we reviewed suggests that at best the rainfall pattern will be normal over the next three months with the potential for a return to a more below normal pattern."

Scott Harder, S.C. Department of Natural Resources hydrologist, reported that above-normal rainfall amounts over the past month and a half have greatly improved streamflow conditions across the upstate and especially in the upper Savannah Basin. As a result, the increased runoff has caused levels in Lake Hartwell to increase by nearly 6 feet and Lake Thurmond by about 3 feet since mid-December.

Darryl Jones with the S.C. Forestry Commission reported, "Based on the long-term deficit of rainfall, we are concerned about the upcoming wildfire season. The peak wildlife season in South Carolina generally runs from mid-February to April. We may be getting an early start since January wildfires exceeded the five-year averages."

Drought Response Committee Chairman Ken Rentiers said the Committee is expected to reconvene sometime during mid March 2013 to re-examine drought conditions around the state.

S.C. Community Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)
Precipitation totals: December 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013


STATION NAME RAINFALL
(Inches)
STATION NAME RAINFALL
(Inches)
Ridgeland 5.8 ESE 3.29 Elgin 1.2 SW 6.77
Moncks Corner 3.0 SW 3.89 Tega Cay 1.5 ESE 7.95
Georgetown 4.9 NNE 4.28 Lancaster 2.0 NNW 8.23
Reevesville 1.0 SSE 4.41 Chapin 1.4 S 8.48
Murrells Inlet 1.7 N 4.41 Iva 5.2 SSW 9.82
Kingstree 9.5 NW 4.69 Silverstreet 5.7 WNW 9.87
Aiken 1.6 NNW 4.74 Starr 2.0 SSE 9.94
Lodge 3.4 SW 4.78 Simpsonville 5.4 N 9.98
Gaston 5.3 E 4.93 Greenwood 2.8 NNW 10.00
Conway 6.2 E 5.07 Pomaria 5.0 NW 10.22
Cameron 2.0 SE 5.14 McCormick 2.3 W 10.27
Sumter 1.3 SE 5.18 Lyman 4.1 WNW 10.76
Manning 1.9 SSE 5.18 Greer 3.0 NNE 11.12
Brunson 1.6 SSW 5.46 Anderson 3.7 NW 11.31
McClellanville 0.2 ESE 5.46 Gaffney 3.3 NNW 11.35
Denmark 2.8 WNW 5.58 Spartanburg 5.1 WSW 11.48
Hartsville 5.4 WSW 6.11 Berry's Pond 0.1 N 11.51
Trenton 6.3 SSW 6.31 Taylors 2.8 W 11.97
Allendale 1.4 S 6.32 Traveler's Rest 8.9 N 14.39
Bennettsville 3.8 SE 6.36 Pickens 6.9 W 14.97
Camden 4.2 ENE 6.46 Seneca 3.7 NNW 15.87
Lexington 5.9 SW 6.48 Cleveland 8.0 WSW 18.81


DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people. Find out more about DNR at the DNR Web site.

Drought Status Table

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


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SC Drought Response Committee Meeting, January 31, 2013
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