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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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South Carolina Drought News Release

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Land, Water and Conservation Division
South Carolina Drought Response Program
Department of Natural Resources News (803) 734-4133

SPECIAL NEWS RELEASE June 8, 2004

A return to a pattern of below normal rainfall over the past eight months led the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to issue an incipient drought declaration statewide. SCDNR convened the state agency members of the drought response committee today, June 8, in Columbia to evaluate the overall statewide conditions.

The state is once again facing drought conditions with most locations reporting a 5 to 10 inch rainfall deficit since January. The below normal rainfall is threatening agriculture, reducing streamflow, and beginning to make forest fires harder to control.

We are certainly not yet experiencing the dire conditions experienced during the record drought of 1998-2002, but everyone needs to be aware of the situation and industries and water systems should implement their drought plans as needed.

According to David Tompkins, the SC Department of Agriculture reports adverse impacts to crop quantity and quality. Bud Badr with SC DNR reported that streamflows are the lowest 10 percentile of flow for this time of year. Fortunately, according to David Baize with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, no water systems are reporting any supply problems at this time.

Larry Barr with the SC Forestry Commission also reported that wildfire losses over the past seven months have been slightly lower than average despite the rainfall deficit, but firefighters fear that the trend may be changing because fires are becoming harder to control.

The incipient drought declaration is the first level of drought followed by moderate, severe, and extreme. During incipient drought, the SCDNR activates the Drought Information Center, increases monitoring and notification of the drought status. Water systems and industries are encouraged to closely monitor conditions and implement their drought plans as needed.

If conditions continue to deteriorate the SCDNR will convene the full drought response committee in the next two weeks.

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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