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State Climate Office                
NEWS RELEASE          DNR News 803-667-0696
August 17, 2016

Drought declared in additional South Carolina counties

South Carolina Drought Map for August 17, 2016

Move cursor over the dates below to view a previous drought status map.
Jul 8, 2016 |  Oct 5, 2015 |  Sep 24, 2015 |  Jul 16, 2015 |  Jun 19, 2015 |  Jan 15,2015  | 
Nov 20, 2014 |  Sep 16, 2014 |  Apr 24, 2013 |  Jan 31, 2013 |  Dec 11, 2012 |  Sep 27, 2012 | 
Jul 19, 2012 |  Jun 6, 2012 |  Apr 25, 2012 |  Mar 9, 2012 |  Nov 8, 2011 |  Sep 29, 2011 | 
Sep 8, 2011 |  Jul 14, 2011 |  Jun 17, 2011 |  Jun 2, 2011 |  Feb 3, 2011 |  Nov 23, 2010 | 
Oct 7, 2010 |  Jul 9, 2010 |  Dec 9, 2009 |  Oct 16, 2009 |  Sep 24, 2009 |  Sep 2, 2009 | 
Jun 10, 2009 |  Apr 15, 2009 |  Feb 19, 2009 |  Oct 28, 2008 |  Sep 16, 2008 |  Aug 5, 2008 | 
Jun 30, 2008 |  Apr 16, 2008 |  Jan 22, 2008 |  Sep 5, 2007 |  Jun 6, 2007 |  May 8, 2007 | 
Feb 23, 2007 |  Sep 20, 2006 |  Aug 16, 2006 |  Apr 27, 2006 | 
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 South Carolina Drought Response Committee, meeting via conference call on August 17, upgraded the drought status for 17 counties in the state.

Fourteen counties were upgraded to "incipient", the first level of drought: Lancaster, Kershaw, Chesterfield, Marlboro, Darlington, Lee, Florence, Dillon, Marion, Williamsburg, Georgetown, Horry, Beaufort and Jasper. Three counties were upgraded to "moderate", the second level of drought: McCormick, Greenwood, and Edgefield. Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, and Abbeville counties remain in moderate drought, and all other counties remain in incipient status.

The table below provides selected COCORaHS station rainfall totals for June 1- August 15, 2016. Normal precipitation for this period ranges from 11 to 16 inches.

STATION NAMEObservation
(Inches)
Anderson 10.4 WNW 3.20
Blufton 2.9 ENE 4.30
Tega Cay 1.1 N 6.34
McCormick 2.3 W 6.87
Loris 2.9 WSW 8.77
Summerville 1.9 N 9.98
Pageland 9.0 WNW 10.06
Dillon 3.8 NW 11.40
Camden 4.2 ENE 12.02

According to South Carolina State Climatologist Dr. Hope Mizzell, there has been a shift in the rainfall pattern over the last few weeks, with the very dry Upstate finally receiving some much needed rain, while rainfall for the Pee Dee region has significantly decreased. Despite improved rainfall coverage for the Upstate, the Committee decided to maintain the drought status of those counties out of concern the rainfall relief may be short-lived. The Committee decided that the lack of rainfall in the Pee Dee was sufficient to warrant an upgrade to incipient for all counties in that region.

Clemson Extension Agronomy Agent Trish DeHond reported, "Most of the Pee Dee region received regular afternoon showers until about three weeks ago, when they turned the spigot off. We've been getting a few scattered showers, but only about a tenth of an inch at a time, which isn't nearly enough to keep up with evaporation in this heat. Crops are suffering and farmers are forced to run their irrigation systems, if they have them."

The primary drought impacts being reported at this time are to agriculture, and for some counties those impacts are highly variable and may be significant.

"While we on the drought committee recognize that the agriculture community is possibly experiencing a moderate drought, there are not enough other indicators at this time to justify an overall upgrade to moderate drought for the Southern Drought Management Area," said committee member Marion Rizer, a Colleton County farmer.

According to Mizzell, the committee faces a challenge as they try to agree on a declaration for each county that takes into consideration multiple factors, including agriculture, forest fire risk, water supply and water quality. Conditions for each of these factors can vary widely across a particular county. For example rainfall for portions of Colleton County over the last 30 days have ranged from only 3.6 inches to 10.16 inches, a range of almost 7 inches in one county. Another factor contributing to the drought and impacts to agriculture is the above normal temperatures that have persisted throughout summer. Evaporation rates are elevated and areas need higher rainfall frequency and totals just to keep up with water loss to evaporation.

Brad Bramlett, Fire Staff Forester for the S.C. Forestry Commission, also briefed the committee. "We have not had an active fire season this summer," said Bramlett. "However, the projections are for above normal potential for wildfires this fall. This means that there is a greater than usual likelihood that significant wildfires will occur. Normal fire season in South Carolina is December through April, with March and April being the most active times. The drought conditions will have the potential to move that time frame much sooner."

SCDNR Hydrologist Scott Harder stated, "Though streamflow levels have not dropped to levels associated with past major droughts, streamflow conditions in much of the state have been hovering between normal to below normal. Areas where streamflow levels have consistently been the lowest include the Middle Savannah Basin, the upper Saluda Basin and the Edisto Basin. The below normal streamflow levels support maintaining the current drought status in the Edisto and upper Saluda basins, and in the case of the Middle Savannah Basin, the upgrade to a moderate drought designation for Edgefield, McCormick, and Greenwood counties."

The Committee will continue to monitor the situation closely and will reevaluate conditions in four to six weeks.

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
Incipient
ALLENDALE
Incipient
ANDERSON
Moderate
BAMBERG
Incipient
BARNWELL
Incipient
BEAUFORT
Incipient
BERKELEY
Incipient
CALHOUN
Incipient
CHARLESTON
Incipient
CHEROKEE
Incipient
CHESTER
Incipient
CHESTERFIELD
Incipient
CLARENDON
Incipient
COLLETON
Incipient
DARLINGTON
Incipient
DILLON
Incipient
DORCHESTER
Incipient
EDGEFIELD
Moderate
FAIRFIELD
Incipient
FLORENCE
Incipient
GEORGETOWN
Incipient
GREENVILLE
Incipient
GREENWOOD
Moderate
HAMPTON
Incipient
HORRY
Incipient
JASPER
Incipient
KERSHAW
Incipient
LANCASTER
Incipient
LAURENS
Incipient
LEE
Incipient
LEXINGTON
Incipient
MARION
Incipient
MARLBORO
Incipient
MCCORMICK
Moderate
NEWBERRY
Incipient
OCONEE
Moderate
ORANGEBURG
Incipient
PICKENS
Moderate
RICHLAND
Incipient
SALUDA
Incipient
SPARTANBURG
Incipient
SUMTER
Incipient
UNION
Incipient
WILLIAMSBURG
Incipient
YORK
Incipient


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