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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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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  - October 21, 1999


South Carolina's drought has been downgraded for all counties.  The State and Local Drought Response committees met Thursday, Oct. 21 in Columbia to discuss drought conditions across the state.  The consensus of the group was that recent rains have been sufficient to relieve drought conditions statewide. 

Hope Mizzell, state drought program coordinator, says only a few isolated locations are still experiencing a 12-14 inch rainfall deficit for the year.  However, numerous locations are more than 9 inches below normal for  the year despite the recent rains.  Annual rainfall deficits include:  Greenville/Sptbg. -11.6; Walhalla -12.8;  Columbia -14.6; Johnston -11.4; Blackville -5.3; Allendale -7.1; Beaufort -2.6; Charleston  -4.1; Myrtle Beach +11.9. 

South Carolina Forestry Commission spokesman Ken Cabe says, "Recent rainfall has dampened surface fuels enough to reduce immediate wildfire danger.  Frequent rain will be needed throughout the fall and winter months to keep fire occurrence at manageable levels." 

Based on these considerations the committees unanimously voted to remove the drought declaration from  Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Chesterfield, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Jasper, Marlboro and Williamsburg counties.  Drought declarations for Dillon, Georgetown, Horry and Marion counties were lifted in September.  The remaining counties in the Midlands and the Upstate were downgraded to incipient.

However, Dr. Michael Helfert, state climatologist says, "Recent rains may only provide temporary relief since all National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration long-range climate models indicate drought conditions will return by November/December 1999 and possibly persist through March 2000.  Decision-makers must consider the impacts of only receiving 60 percent to 80 percent of normal winter/spring rainfall through March 2000."

For more information, contact Hope Mizzell, drought coordinator with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, at (803) 737-0800 in Columbia.  

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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