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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
Statement Date:June 6, 2007:

MODERATE DROUGHT STATUS DECLARED FOR SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina Drought Status by County.

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

State and local Drought Response Committee members unanimously upgraded the drought level to "moderate" for the entire state of South Carolina during a meeting on Wednesday, June 6 in Columbia. The state agency representatives of the drought response committee declared an Incipient drought on May 8. Moderate drought means there is an increasing threat of a drought as demonstrated by drought indices. While the moderate declaration does not require any mandatory action by public water systems or the public, it is a signal that drought conditions are deteriorating and water systems should implement their plans and ordinances as needed. The public can do their part to conserve water such as reducing outdoor irrigation, checking for pipe leaks indoors and out. They can also pay attention to the danger of wildfires by monitoring advisories from the S.C. Forestry Commission and using extreme caution with any outdoor burning.

"The decision to upgrade the drought status to moderate was supported by the long-term rainfall deficit," said Von Snelgrove, of the DNR Land, Water and Conservation Division. "What we need to see is a significant change in the rainfall pattern, otherwise, the streams and lake levels around the state will continue to decline."

According to Hope Mizzell, South Carolina state climatologist, reports from state and local agriculture, forestry officials and the discouraging 6 to 14 day outlook for below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures were some of the factors influencing the state and local Drought Response Committee's decision to upgrade, "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the hydroelectric generating utilities have been taking action to conserve and manage water in their lakes. This is not an easy task given the long-term rainfall deficit. The S.C. Drought Response Committee's decision to upgrade to the second level of drought demonstrates that consistency between local, state, and federal drought response is important for effective drought planning and management."

Bud Badr, state hydrologist, explained, "11 of 17 streamflow indicators are already at some stage of drought with five of those streamflows at extreme. Groundwater levels throughout much of the state are also below normal. Power generation has been reduced to maintain the levels on hydropower lakes. Elsewhere lake levels are slightly lower than their normal levels for this time of year."

David Tompkins with the S.C. Department of Agriculture says many farmers will be facing a difficult situation if conditions don't improve, "We're concerned about what will happen the rest of this year. We need better than normal rainfall throughout the upcoming months. Some irrigation for farmers is already being utilized at a level normally seen in July."

Darryl Jones with the S.C. Forestry Commission (SCFC) expressed concern, "Recent rains have provided relief for wildfire danger in some areas of the state, but the effects of the moisture will be short-lived. Wildfire activity in May was higher than normal, and the SCFC responded to 337 wildfires that burned more than 1397 acres. The accumulated rainfall deficit has resulted in more extreme wildfire behavior and increased the amount of mop-up necessary to completely extinguish fires. Some seedling survival problems have been reported, especially for pine plantations established in late winter. While the effects of a long dry period are often not immediately noticeable, trees in most areas of the state are under stress from a lack of rainfall and more susceptible to damage from bark beetles, defoliators, and salt water influx into the soil."

David Baize with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said that six water systems are reporting voluntary restrictions with two reporting mandatory restrictions.

Mike Hancock with Lugoff-Elgin Water is a representative on the Central or Santee Basin Committee, "We entered 2007 at a deficit and have had significantly less rainfall than normal. This is having a profound effect on our forestry and especially our farmers. We feel it's appropriate to bring this situation to the public's awareness. We believe it's prudent at this time to declare a moderate drought. And, if conditions persist, we could easily deteriorate to more advanced drought conditions."


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

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Sign-In Sheet

SC Drought Response Committee Meeting, June 6, 2007
Sign-In sheet
Name & AgencyName & Agency
1) Kim Campbell - National Weather Service
2) Leonard Vaughn - National Weather Service
3) Francis Tubolino - SC Emergency Management Division
4) Erica Westbrook - Natural Resources Conservation Service
5) Von P. Snelgrove - SC Department of Natural Resources
6) Mike Hancock - LEWA
7) Terry Tudor - GCRC - Southern
8) Jim Traywick - Frog Level Farm
9) David Thompson - SC Department of Agriculture
10) Mr. Darryl Jones - SC Forestry Commission
11) John Westcott - SWJ
12) Brett Witt - SC Department of Natural Resources
13) Gene Hogan - Senate Agriculture Committee
14) Justin Karr - WACH Fox
15) Bill Payne - WSRC (SRS)
16) Kirsten Singleton - Morris News Service
17) Jenny Hagan - Charleston Water System
18) Dennis Chastain - Pickens/West
19) Dean Moss - BJWSA/West
20) JS Hammond - Duke Energy

21) John Shelton - USGS
22) Noel Hurley - USGS
23) Stephanie Hodnette - City of Columbia
24) Bud Shane - City of Columbia
25) John Dooley - City of Columbia
26) Brian Burgess - Saluda County Water & Sewer
27) Reg Williams
28) Brad Powers - BRRWC
29) Tom Hayes - SC News Network
30) Bo Peterson - Post and Courier
31) Bill Taylor - Town of Cheraw
32) David Bone - DHEC
33) Tori Toth - WLTX
34) Kim Grace - WLTX
35) Joey Jaed - City of Columbia
36) Jim Witkowski - International Paper
37) Stewart Ames - Progress Energy
39) Sally Fiffick - SC Manufacturers Alliance
40) Marion Rizer - SEWCD

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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