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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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South Carolina Current Drought Status

State Climate Office                
NEWS RELEASE #12-155          DNR News 803-667-0696
July 19, 2012

Drought status maintained for all counties except Barnwell

South Carolina Drought Map for July 19, 2012

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 July 19, 2012 voted to maintain the drought status for all counties except Barnwell County which was upgraded to a Severe drought designation. Abbeville, McCormick, Edgefield and Aiken in the Savannah River Basin remain at severe. Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, Saluda, Greenwood, Greenville, Newberry, Laurens, and Lexington counties remain at moderate. All other counties in the state remain at the incipient level of drought.

While the rainfall pattern has once again improved over the last 10 days, Committee members felt it was too soon to downgrade declarations or move counties out of drought. Based on data from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHaS), summer rainfall totals since June 1 vary from 3.64" at Loris to 15.23" at Cleveland. Hope Mizzell, SC State Climatologist, commented that many locations have received close to normal rainfall which is an improvement over previous summers, but it's difficult to overcome drought during the summer months due to increased evaporation.

Scott Harder, S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Hydrologist, summarized that recent rainfall has improved streamflow levels, but without additional rain flows will quickly start to decline. Most lakes around the state are close to normal elevation except for those in the Savannah River Basin which are much below target (Jocassee -22.2 ft, Keowee -3.50 ft, Hartwell -9.72 ft, Thurmond -10.31 ft).

Stan Simpson, Savannah District Water Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, explained that recent rains have helped slow lake level decline in the Savannah Basin, but even with normal rainfall, lake pools will continue declining due to lower inflows, increased evaporation and increased water use demand typical of this time of year.

Barnwell was the only county upgraded. Brenda Nettles, Commissioner, Barnwell County Soil and Water Conservation District shared with the Committee information she collected about drought conditions in the county. Lack of precipitation during the past fall and winter contributed to the low surface and subsurface moisture conditions combined with limited rainfall and above normal temperatures during spring and early summer has produced the severe drought. No rainfall and extreme heat from mid-June through mid-July has also negatively impacted crops and pastures.

Drought Response Committee Chairman Ken Rentiers stated, "There was not overwhelming support for changing the declaration in any county except Barnwell especially given the uncertainty in rainfall patterns this time of year. The Committee will continue to monitor the situation closely and reconvene in four to six weeks or sooner as needed."

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
Severe
AIKEN
Severe
ALLENDALE
Incipient
ANDERSON
Moderate
BAMBERG
Incipient
BARNWELL
Severe
BEAUFORT
Incipient
BERKELEY
Incipient
CALHOUN
Incipient
CHARLESTON
Incipient
CHEROKEE
Incipient
CHESTER
Incipient
CHESTERFIELD
Incipient
CLARENDON
Incipient
COLLETON
Incipient
DARLINGTON
Incipient
DILLON
Incipient
DORCHESTER
Incipient
EDGEFIELD
Severe
FAIRFIELD
Incipient
FLORENCE
Incipient
GEORGETOWN
Incipient
GREENVILLE
Moderate
GREENWOOD
Moderate
HAMPTON
Incipient
HORRY
Incipient
JASPER
Incipient
KERSHAW
Incipient
LANCASTER
Incipient
LAURENS
Moderate
LEE
Incipient
LEXINGTON
Moderate
MARION
Incipient
MARLBORO
Incipient
MCCORMICK
Severe
NEWBERRY
Moderate
OCONEE
Moderate
ORANGEBURG
Incipient
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, July 19, 2012
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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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