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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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South Carolina Current Drought Status

State Climate Office                
NEWS RELEASE          DNR News 803-667-0696
May 24, 2000

DROUGHT STATUS OFFICIALLY UPGRADED FOR ALL 46 SOUTH CAROLINA COUNTIES

South Carolina Drought Map for May 24, 2000

For previously issued drought statements see the archived status reports.

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

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has upgraded the drought status for all 46 counties with 27 now ranked "moderate," the second level, and the others "incipient,"the first level of drought.

An incipient drought declaration issued last year on October 21, was upgraded to "moderate" for Abbeville, Aiken, Anderson, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chester, Clarendon, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Lee, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Richland, Saluda, Spartanburg, Sumter, Union and York. A moderate drought declaration, the second of four drought levels specified in the Drought Response Act of 1985, means that drought conditions have continued to deteriorate and are expected to persist.

An "incipient drought," the first drought level, was declared for the remaining counties: Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Chesterfield, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg.

According to the South Carolina Agricultural Statistics Service, fields across the state are in dire need of rain. Dry soils have stalled many planting operations. Fields that have been planted are showing little growth due to the dry soils. Corn is wilting in several areas. Soil moisture ratings across the state have declined to 29% very short, 62% short and 9% adequate.

Dale Linvill, agricultural meteorologist with Clemson University, explained that the maximum amount of available soil moisture (top 2 ft.) for South Carolina ranges from 11/2 to 3 inches. At present the moisture available for plants is less than 10% of these values.

South Carolina Forestry Commission spokesman Ken Cabe reported that as of May 24 wildfire occurrences are still fairly low, but control difficulties are increasing due to hot, dry conditions. Very intense burning observed on recent fires is causing significant damage to the affected forest. If the drought continues, lack of moisture alone is expected to take a toll on forest growth and vigor.

David Baize, Water Monitoring division director with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DNR) reported that his agency has issued letters to all water system owners and dischargers requesting their attention to the drought conditions. The discharge of wastewater into low flowing streams should be regulated to avoid adverse impacts to the receiving streams, aquatic life and other stream uses.

Rod Cherry, hydrologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), expressed his concern that water withdrawers who depend on wells or unregulated streams may experience water shortages and deteriorating water quality in the near future as water storage continues to decrease in the weeks ahead.

Both DNR and DHEC stress to the public and water suppliers that while water restrictions are not popular, early and effective use of voluntary restrictions may be necessary to protect water integrity and quality.

The Drought Response Committee encourages local water suppliers to implement drought response ordinances and plans for their area. Water suppliers are requested to send copies of any notice of voluntary or mandatory reductions to the Drought Information Center. The DNR will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed. The public should contact the center at (803) 737-0800 for more information.

The DNR will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed. Integrated drought information is available on the DNR's State Climatology Office Internet Web Site.

Contact Dr. Mizzell in Columbia at (803) 734-9568 or e-mail at mizzellh@dnr.sc.gov 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 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
Incipient
ANDERSON
Moderate
BAMBERG
Incipient
BARNWELL
Incipient
BEAUFORT
Incipient
BERKELEY
Incipient
CALHOUN
Moderate
CHARLESTON
Incipient
CHEROKEE
Moderate
CHESTER
Moderate
CHESTERFIELD
Incipient
CLARENDON
Moderate
COLLETON
Incipient
DARLINGTON
Incipient
DILLON
Incipient
DORCHESTER
Incipient
EDGEFIELD
Moderate
FAIRFIELD
Moderate
FLORENCE
Incipient
GEORGETOWN
Incipient
GREENVILLE
Moderate
GREENWOOD
Moderate
HAMPTON
Incipient
HORRY
Incipient
JASPER
Incipient
KERSHAW
Moderate
LANCASTER
Moderate
LAURENS
Moderate
LEE
Moderate
LEXINGTON
Moderate
MARION
Incipient
MARLBORO
Incipient
MCCORMICK
Moderate
NEWBERRY
Moderate
OCONEE
Moderate
ORANGEBURG
Moderate
PICKENS
Moderate
RICHLAND
Moderate
SALUDA
Moderate
SPARTANBURG
Moderate
SUMTER
Moderate
UNION
Moderate
WILLIAMSBURG
Incipient
YORK
Moderate


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Sign-In Sheet

SC Drought Response Committee Meeting, May 24, 2000
Sign-In sheet
Name & AgencyName & Agency

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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