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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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South Carolina Current Drought Status

State Climate Office                 803-734-9100
NEWS RELEASE          DNR News 803-734-3815
July 17, 2008

S.C. Drought Response Committee Meeting, August 5, 2008

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will convene the South Carolina Drought Response Committee on Tuesday, August 5, 2008, at 10:00 AM. The meeting will be held at the S.C. Forestry Commission's 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. During the June 30, 2008 meeting, the S.C. Drought Response Committee upgraded the drought status to "extreme" for Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg counties; upgraded or maintained 14 counties at "severe"; upgraded or maintained 21 counties at "moderate" and maintained six counties at "incipient" along the coast.

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

'EXTREME' DROUGHT STATUS FOR 5 UPSTATE COUNTIES.

South Carolina Drought Map for June 30, 2008

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 South Carolina Department of Natural Resources convened the South Carolina Drought Response Committee on June 30, 2008 in Columbia and moved five counties to extreme drought. Fourteen counties were upgraded or maintained at severe and 21 were upgraded or maintained at moderate status. The committee recognizes that conditions around the state have deteriorated and drought is causing major adverse impacts to agriculture and forestry. Streamflow levels are also at extremely low levels throughout much of the state. The committee emphasizes that individually and collectively the citizens of South Carolina need to increase their water conservation efforts.

The counties moved into the extreme category are: Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg.

The committee did not impose any mandatory water-use and withdrawal restrictions, but did encourage water systems in the extreme drought areas to reduce water use as much as possible. The committee will continue to evaluate information and plans to meet again in about a month to review conditions and determine if additional actions to conserve water are needed.

South Carolina did not receive normal winter and spring rainfall, resulting in insufficient recharge of groundwater to sustain streamflows. Thirteen out of 17 streams monitored are in extreme drought conditions according to Masaaki Kiuchi, SC Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Hydrology Section. The drought continues to affect many lakes. The Santee lakes are over one foot lower than this time last year. The Savannah lakes are more than 10 feet below target level for this time of year and continue to decline.

The dry conditions have taken a toll on agriculture. David Tompkins with the S.C. Department of Agriculture added the entire state needs relief, but especially in the Upstate. "We need to get that topsoil saturated. One or two inches isn't getting it done," Tompkins said.

David Baize, with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, reported that most water systems report adequate storage at this time.

Darryl Jones, with the SC Forestry Commission, said, "Dry fuels have increased the intensity of fires, resulting in a higher number of acres burned. So far in June, the Forestry Commission responded to 488 wildfires across the state that have burned more than 3,428 acres, much higher than the average number of wildfires during this time of year. Normally, approximately 4% of the wildfires we respond to are caused by lightning, but this June that number rose to 21%. This increase can be attributed to the dry fuels resulting from the drought."

Mike Caston, with SJWD Water District in Spartanburg, represents the Central Drought Management Area and said, "Water supplies as far as reservoirs are adequate, but that could change very quickly. We have to start thinking long-term about sustainability."

Contact State Climatologist Hope Mizzell in Columbia at (803) 734-9568 or email for more information.

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.

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


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Sign-In Sheet

SC Drought Response Committee Meeting, July 17, 2008
Sign-In sheet
Name & AgencyName & Agency
Oscar P. Black - Dorchester Water Authority
Marion Rizer - CS&WCD
Bill Taylor - Town of Cheraw
Chris Bickley - Lowcountry COG
Bill Stroud - Fort Mill, SC
Warren Harris - Town of Salem
Darryl Jones - Forestry Commission
Masaaki Kiuchi - SCDNR
Mike Caston - SJWD Water District
Mitch Turner - SJWD Water District
Dean Moss - Beaufort Jasper WSA
Elbert Warren - DCW&SA
Bobby Brock - Marlboro Water Company
Brad Powers - Blue Ridge Rural Water
Scott Holland - Duke Energy
Kate Johnson - Duke Energy
George Galleher - Duke Energy
Dennis Chastain - West Drought Management Area
Gregory Lamberty - NWS Columbia SC
David Glenn - NWS Columbia SC
John Westcott - Spartanburg Water
Cindy Collium - Pickens County
Sara Yorty - USC, Columbia
Kirstin Dow - USC, Columbia
Athena Strickland - Domtar Paper - Pee Dee River Coalition
Jim Witkowski - International Paper
Tom Couch - City of Camden
Joe Johnson - Dillon, SC
Steve Hammond - Duke Energy, Keowee Toxaway Area
Howard T. Hill - USDA - NASS, SCFO
Susan Featherstone - City of Rock Hill
Barbara Robinson - City of Rock Hill
David Tompkins - SC Department of Ag
Brian DeRoy - WIJ-TV
Katrina A. Goggins - Associate Press
Chuck Gorman - SCDHEC
Jim Trone - SCEMD
Evelyn Johnson - SCDNR
Ziwase Banda - SCDNR
Brett Witt - SCDNR
Hope Mizzell - SCDNR
Steven J. de Kozlowski - SCDNR

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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