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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
September 27, 2012

SC Drought Committee lowers status for 21 counties

South Carolina Drought Map for September 27, 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:

For the first time since Feb. 2011, portions of South Carolina are drought free based on the SC Drought Response Committee's official declaration issued Sept. 27, 2012. The committee met via conference call and downgraded 14 counties to no drought. Elsewhere in the state the committee downgraded Greenville and Laurens to incipient and Abbeville, McCormick, Edgefield, Aiken and Barnwell to moderate. Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, Greenwood, Lexington, Newberry, Saluda were maintained at moderate. Spartanburg, Cherokee, Union, York, Chester, Fairfield, Richland, Sumter, Calhoun, Clarendon, Orangeburg, Berkeley, Orangeburg, Dorchester, Bamberg, Colleton, Allendale, Hampton, and Jasper were maintained at incipient.

According to Hope Mizzell, SC State Climatologist, there was consensus among all the drought indicators that the drought status improved for many counties. Based on data from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHaS), 60-day rainfall totals in some of the counties removed from drought exceeded 16 inches, which is over 150% of normal for the period (Huger 5.5 SE: 20.8", Kingstree 7.9 NW: 17.19", Bluffton 2.3 NNE: 17.78", Mt. Pleasant 4.1 NE: 16.67").

The committee decided to maintain the drought status for 25 counties since there was not overwhelming support from the indicators that conditions in those counties have significantly improved. The committee's decision also took into consideration information provided by the National Weather Service and State Climatology Office that we are entering the time of year (Oct. - Nov.) which is climatologically the driest.

Marion Rizer, Colleton County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner, stated, "The summer rainfall for my area was enough to produce the best corn crop I've ever harvested since I started farming in 1975. If the drought meeting had been held a few weeks ago I would have voted to remove the drought for my area, but several weeks have passed with no rain and all that water is gone."

George Galleher, Duke Energy Hydro Fleet Operations engineer, reported that, "Dry conditions in the Catawba-Wateree, Broad River Basin and Keowee-Toxaway are likely to persist throughout the fall and into the winter. Without significant rainfall the Keowee-Toxaway Lake levels (particularly Lake Jocassee) are not expected to increase during the fall of 2012."

According to Darryl Jones, SC Forestry Commission, there was near a record low for fires around the state in the last two months, "We only had 18 fires during August and September is also low." The concern now is drying conditions, "Everything is currently green, but fall is typically drier and so we do expect to have increased fire activity in the months ahead."

Drought Response Committee Chairman Ken Rentiers stated, "The Committee will continue to monitor the situation closely and reconvene in early December 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
Moderate
AIKEN
Moderate
ALLENDALE
Incipient
ANDERSON
Moderate
BAMBERG
Incipient
BARNWELL
Moderate
BEAUFORT
Normal
BERKELEY
Incipient
CALHOUN
Incipient
CHARLESTON
Normal
CHEROKEE
Incipient
CHESTER
Incipient
CHESTERFIELD
Normal
CLARENDON
Incipient
COLLETON
Incipient
DARLINGTON
Normal
DILLON
Normal
DORCHESTER
Incipient
EDGEFIELD
Moderate
FAIRFIELD
Incipient
FLORENCE
Normal
GEORGETOWN
Normal
GREENVILLE
Incipient
GREENWOOD
Moderate
HAMPTON
Incipient
HORRY
Normal
JASPER
Incipient
KERSHAW
Normal
LANCASTER
Normal
LAURENS
Incipient
LEE
Normal
LEXINGTON
Moderate
MARION
Normal
MARLBORO
Normal
MCCORMICK
Moderate
NEWBERRY
Moderate
OCONEE
Moderate
ORANGEBURG
Incipient
PICKENS
Moderate
RICHLAND
Incipient
SALUDA
Moderate
SPARTANBURG
Incipient
SUMTER
Incipient
UNION
Incipient
WILLIAMSBURG
Normal
YORK
Incipient


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Sign-In Sheet

SC Drought Response Committee Meeting, September 27, 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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