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 #00 - 56 October 26, 2000
DROUGHT COMMITTEE MAINTAINS CURRENT DROUGHT STATUS
The S.C. Drought
Response Committee voted Oct. 26 to maintain the current drought status, which
lists 11 South Carolina counties in an "incipient" drought, the first drought
level, and 35 counties in the next level of "moderate" drought.
conditions are not expected to bring any drought relief in the next two weeks,
and some areas, such as Columbia, are approaching a record number of
consecutive days without measurable rainfall.
The S.C. Drought
Response Committee, which met Oct. 26 at the South Carolina State Museum in
Columbia, is made up of several state agencies along with municipalities,
counties, public and private water suppliers, public service districts, power
generation facilities, industries, special purpose districts, private citizens
and commissions of public works.
The committee voted
unanimously to maintain the current drought status. Listed in the incipient
drought level are two coastal South Carolina counties - Beaufort and Charleston
- along with the nine Pee Dee counties of Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon,
Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg. Incipient is the first of the four levels of
drought declaration remains in effect for Abbeville, Aiken, Allendale,
Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chester, Clarendon,
Colleton, Dorchester, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Hampton,
Jasper, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Lee, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry,
Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Richland, Saluda, Spartanburg, Sumter, Union and
York counties. A moderate drought declaration, the second of four drought
levels specified in the Drought Response Act of 2000, means that drought
conditions have continued to deteriorate and are expected to persist.
meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Columbia, predicted no
substantial rain in the next 10 to 14 days. Some cities are approaching records for the greatest number of
consecutive days without measurable precipitation. Columbiaís record of 40 days was set in 1961, but as of Oct. 26, Columbia
had been 31 days with virtually no rainfall.
Ken Cabe, of the S.C.
Forestry Commission, reported that fire occurrences are at a minimum; however,
without rainfall, problems will increase, especially after the first frost.
S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hydrologist, reported streamflows
across the state remain very low and groundwater and lake levels are still
declining. The very low lake levels
have significantly impacted recreation and many businesses along the
lakes. Businesses on Lakes Marion and
Moultrie attended the meeting requesting help locating financial relief. Many of the businesses are on the verge of
bankruptcy because of low lake levels due to the drought. These businesses are driven by tourism, and
if people canít use the boat ramps, fish or simply enjoy the water scenery,
they cancel their trips to the lakes.
deputy director of the DNR Land, Water and Conservation Division, emphasized
that the low lake levels are impacting a much larger group than just the
businesses on the lake and will have a ripple effect throughout the entire
state. A major source of South
Carolinaís number one financial resource - tourism - is being threatened. Vang promised the group that the State
Drought Program would investigate sources of assistance from the local to the
Department of Natural Resources, which houses the State Drought Program, will
continue to monitor the drought situation and provide updates as needed. For more information, contact Hope Mizzell.
Find out more about the State Climatology Office at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/ or by calling (803) 734-9100.