South Carolina Drought News Release
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Land, Water and Conservation Division
South Carolina Drought Response Program
Department of Natural Resources News (803) 734-4133
SPECIAL NEWS RELEASE #02 - 53 November 21, 2002
DROUGHT CONDITIONS DOWNGRADED STATEWIDE
The South Carolina Drought Response Committee met Thursday, November 21, in
Columbia and downgraded the drought status in every county of the state.
"Much needed rainfall over the last two to three months alleviated the
severe and extreme drought conditions throughout the state," according to
Freddy Vang, Deputy Director for the South Carolina Department of Natural
Resources' Land, Water and Conservation Division. "Abundant precipitation
has eliminated drought conditions altogether in ten counties located in the
southern region and most of the Coastal Plain.".
Counties where the drought is over include Calhoun, Sumter, Clarendon,
Williamsburg, Georgetown, Dorchester, Colleton, Beaufort, Charleston and
Berkeley. All other counties, previously classified as either severe or
extreme, were downgraded to incipient.
Counties now under an incipient drought classification include Oconee,
Pickens, Greenville, Cherokee, York, Lancaster, Chesterfield, Marlboro,
Dillon, Marion, Horry, Florence, Lee, Darlington, Kershaw, Fairfield,
Richland, Lexington, Anderson, Bamberg, Newberry, Saluda, Greenwood, Union,
Laurens, Chester, Spartanburg, Abbeville, McCormick, Edgefield, Aiken,
Barnwell, Orangeburg, Allendale, Hampton and Jasper.
Vang added that even though the drought situation has improved, the
consequences of drought continue. "The drought had a ripple effect
throughout the state's economy," Vang said. "Our job now is to take lessons
learned and apply that knowledge to minimize the negative effect of droughts
in the future."
Hope Mizzell, SC Drought Response Program Coordinator, reported that the
state has received much above normal rainfall since late August with many
locations receiving 16 to 30 inches in less than three months. Mizzell
emphasized that this is 5 to 15 inches above normal. "Some locations
received the normal rainfall for a five-month period in just two and half
months," Mizzell said.
Acting State Climatologist, Milt Brown, gave an optimistic forecast for
above average rainfall and said that according to national models, the wet
weather pattern is expected to continue throughout the winter and into early
spring due to the influence of the El Nino event, on the global weather
Masaaki Kiuchi, DNR hydrologist stated that recent persistent, soaking rains
brought stream-flows across the state back to normal for this time of the
year, and in some cases, to higher than normal levels. Lakes and ponds are
filling up much earlier than normal, except for the Savannah lakes.
Groundwater levels are also recovering and in some areas reached the
highest levels in two years.
Industry officials reported that increased streamflow levels will allow
industry to slowly begin releasing effluent and lower wastewater holding
pond levels that increased over the state's four-year drought period, but
that normal rainfall throughout the winter is needed.
The prolonged drought period, especially over the past year, has severely
impacted agriculture throughout the state, said Dale E. Linvill with the
Agriculture Weather Office at Clemson University. "While it appears we're
turning the corner, problems with shallow well water supplies and farm ponds
continue." Linvill said. "Our hope is that the above average
precipitation expected through the winter and into early spring will
continue to supply much needed water for agricultural purposes."
- Written by Mike Willis -
Find out more about the State Climatology Office at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/ or by calling (803) 734-9100.