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September 24, 2009

Incipient drought status downgraded for Oconee, Pickens counties

Heavy rain over the last 8 days (Sept. 15-Sept. 22) led the S. C. Department of Natural Resources to downgrade the incipient drought declaration for Oconee and Pickens counties. The state agency members of the Drought Response Committee voted on Wednesday Sept. 23, 2009, to remove these counties from drought.  An incipient drought was declared for 22 counties earlier this month. 
Some of the excessive rainfall totals (Sept. 15-Sept. 22) that prompted the decision include:

Supplemental observations from the Community Rain Network include:

According to South Carolina State Climatologist Hope Mizzell, "All the drought indices responded to the rain event.  In the past week Lake Jocassee rose 9 feet, Lake Hartwell rose 3 feet, and groundwater levels returned to normal."  Darryl Jones with the S.C. Forestry Commission reported that since the recent rains fire occurrence has been low in these areas and fuel moisture has recovered significantly. 
Other counties such as Greenville, Anderson, and Abbeville also received significant rainfall that improved conditions, but not enough to remove the drought declaration. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources will continue to monitor conditions across the state.  Contact Hope Mizzell in Columbia at (803) 734-9568 or e-mail at mizzellh@dnr.sc.gov for more information.

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