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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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South Carolina Current Drought Status

State Climate Office                 803-734-9100
SPECIAL NEWS RELEASE 09-01          DNR News 803-734-3815
February 19, 2009

All of State's counties now in drought status

South Carolina Drought Map for February 19, 2009

For previously issued drought statements see the archived status reports.

Table of all counties and drought status.
Drought Response Committee Meeting Sign-In sheet.

Minutes from the February 19, 2009 S.C. Drought Response Committee meeting (.pdf).

Discussion:

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources convened the S.C. Drought Response Committee on Feb. 19 in Columbia. Nine counties were maintained at the extreme level. Recent dry conditions prompted the Drought Response Committee to upgrade the drought declaration for 16 counties along the coast and Pee Dee region from no drought status to incipient: Chesterfield, Marlboro, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marion, Horry, Williamsburg, Georgetown, Berkeley, Dorchester, Charleston, Colleton, Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper.

Dry conditions continue in the Upstate where nine counties remain in extreme drought. The counties remaining in the extreme category are: Oconee, Pickens, Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Abbeville, Laurens, Greenwood and McCormick.

Five counties in the Catawba-Wateree River Basin were downgraded to moderate status: York, Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster and Kershaw.

For more information about drought and to see a drought status by county map, visit the Office of State Climatology drought web site.

The Drought Committee voted unanimously on a resolution to support a recent request by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and GA Environmental Protection Division to the Savannah District Corps of Engineers. The committee requested that the Corps of Engineers expeditiously conduct an Environmental Assessment on the reduction of minimum releases from Lake Thurmond from 3600 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 3100 cfs for the months of March through May 2009 in order to help mitigate the effects of the drought in the Savannah Basin.

Hope Mizzell, South Carolina state climatologist, reported the long-lead forecast continues to project below normal rainfall through April.

According to DNR hydrologist Masaaki Kiuchi only one of the 17 statewide stream flow gauges shows no drought, "Currently 12 of the 17 gauges are in extreme drought. Our continued concern is the serious situation of low lake levels in the Savannah River Basin."

Darryl Jones with the S.C. Forestry Commission reported the state is entering the dry season with February already experiencing above average forest fires, "Given the forecast, I think we can expect greater forest fire activity and this increase can be attributed to the dry fuels resulting from the drought."

Recognizing that spring brings a time of increasing water use, the committee approved a recommendation that urged individuals in the extreme drought counties to carefully consider their water needs and reduce unnecessary water use.

Michael G. McShane, DNR Board Chairman, addressed the committee in regards to ongoing water resource management efforts. DNR developed a statewide water plan in 1998 that was revised in 2004. Plans are to initiate an update later this year. Also the Governor's Savannah River Committee is making good progress on a number of interstate water issues.

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


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Sign-In Sheet

SC Drought Response Committee Meeting, February 19, 2009
Sign-In sheet
Name & AgencyName & Agency
Warren Harris - Drought Committee
Buddy Rivers - Drought Committee
David Baize - SCDHEC
Charles Seyton - BJWSA
Steve Hammond - Duke
Mitch Turner - SJWD
John Westcott - Drought Committee
Marion Rizer - Colleton Soil & Water District
Elbert Warren - Drought Committee
Chris Bickley - Drought Committee
Ken Rentiers - SCDNR
George Lamberty - NWS
Francis Turbolino - EMD
David Lodgeman - Governor's Office
Vernon Osteen - Drought Committee
Scott Willett - Anderson Regional Water
Doug Young - Chickasaw Point Property Owners Assoc
Darrell Jones - SCFC
Brenda Neetles - Drought Committee
Carol Roberts - SCDHEC
Ed Bruce - Duke
George Gallaher - Duke
Mike Hancock - Drought Committee
Darrell Jones - SC Froestry Commission
Norman Whitaker - Drought Committee
Masaaki Kiuchi - SCDNR
Steven J. de Kozlowski - SCDNR
Jim Wilkowski - Drought Committee
David Tompkins - Dept. of Ag
Kirsten Lackstrom - University of South Carolina
Michael McShane - SCDNR Chairman
Hope Mizzell - DNR
Evelyn Johnson - SCDNR
Brett Witt - SCDNR
Mark Brug - Santee Riverkeeper
Andy Fairey - Drought Committee
Bill Yetman - City of Rock Hill
Stuart Ames - Drought Committee
John Shelton - USGS
Rick Walker - Rain-Catchers.net
Dennis Chastain - Drought Committee

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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