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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          DNR News 803-734-3815
March 24, 2008

S.C. Drought Response Committee Meeting, April 16, 2008

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will convene the South Carolina Drought Response Committee on Wednesday, April 16, 2008, at 10:00 AM. The meeting will be held at the S.C. Forestry Commission's Harbison Environmental Education Center, located at Harbison State Forest at 5600 Broad River Road in Columbia.

The purpose of the drought meeting is to evaluate the drought status statewide. The committee will review climatic data, streamflow and lake level data, and drought impacts. Local response to the drought will also be reviewed. The S.C. Drought Response Committee maintained the severe drought status for all South Carolina counties except Jasper and Beaufort which remained at moderate during their last meeting on January 22, 2008.

If you have any questions, please contact me, 803-734-9568 or email at mizzellh@dnr.sc.gov.

'SEVERE' DROUGHT STATUS MAINTAINED FOR ALL COUNTIES EXCEPT BEAUFORT, JASPER COUNTIES.

South Carolina Drought Status by County.

For complete previously issued drought statements see the archived status reports.

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

The S.C. Drought Response Committee met today in Columbia and decided to maintain the drought status at "severe" for all South Carolina counties except Jasper and Beaufort, which will remain at moderate. While the committee recognized that precipitation has been above normal for the past 30 days, it has not been enough to return streamflows, ground water, and reservoirs to the moderate drought status. The Committee was also concerned because forecasters expect a return to below normal rainfall for February through April 2008.

Most of the streamflows are still well below the normal flows for this time of year, many reservoirs are below normal elevations, and groundwater levels have only slowly started to improve from near record low levels according to Masaaki Kiuchi, DNR Hydrology. According to Daryl Jones, SC Forestry Commission, there were double the number of fires and acres burned during the Fall 2007 fire season. Recent rains provided short-term relief, but as the state enters its traditional fire season, February - April, the SC Forestry Commission is preparing for higher than normal fire activity. Rain events over the past six weeks have dampened light fuels, but the moisture content inside larger fuels (i.e., downed logs) is still very low. David Tompkins, SC Department of Agriculture, explained the above normal rainfall over the past few weeks has resulted in adequate to a surplus of soil moisture, but because irrigation ponds were so low they are only slowly responding to the much needed rain.

Jim Witkowski, International Paper and the Industry Representative from the Central Drought Management Area, said "Although several counties, from the Midlands to the coast, could have been downgraded to moderate based on individual drought indices, the Central Drought Management representatives decided to maintain the severe status because of the continuing long-term effects of the drought." Andy Ferry, Charleston Commission of Public Works (CPW) and Southern Drought Response Committee water system representative also emphasized that regardless of recent higher than normal rainfall events, the Southern Drought Management Committee decided to keep the area under a severe drought level because the drought is a long- term, statewide issue, not just a local one. A key factor for the Southern Drought Management Area was the continued very low elevation of Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie.

Steve de Kozlowski, Interim DNR Land, Water and Conservation Deputy Director, said the general consensus among the committee was that it is too early to downgrade the drought status especially with a below normal precipitation forecast for the next 90 days. Lakes, rivers, and groundwater levels remain at low levels. The committee will meet again in April to determine the drought status going into the growing season and as water demand starts to increase.

The S.C. Drought Response Committee commended water systems that have taken action to conserve water and encouraged all systems to continue the message of water conservation. Hope Mizzell, SC State Climatologist, reported that based on a survey to water systems, 56% of the SC population is under voluntary water conservation and 26% are in mandatory. For a full list of those water systems that have implemented conservation actions, please visit our DNR Office of State Climatology Drought Information Center Web site at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/Drought/drought_water_restriction.php.

Please contact Hope Mizzell if you have additional questions, 803-734-9568 or 803-530-5793.

Drought Status Table

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


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Sign-In Sheet

SC Drought Response Committee Meeting, January 22, 2008
Sign-In sheet
Name & AgencyName & Agency
Margaret Richardson - SCEMD
Francis Tubolino - SCEMD
Jim Trone - SCEMD
John Baker - International Paper
Joseph Calderone - NOAA/NWS Charleston
Jimmy Bagley - City of Rock Hill
Marion Rizer - CS&WCD
Jim Witkowski - International Paper
Darryl Jones - Forestry Commission
Pat Tanner - NWS Greer
Gregory Lamberty - NWS Columbia SC
Dennis Chastain - West
Masaaki Kiuchi - SCDNR
Pickens Williams - Barnwell County
Andy Fairey - Charleston Water System
John Westcott - Spartanburg Water
Ron Mitchum - BWWG
Oscar P. Black - Dorchester Water Authority
Theron Dewitt - Darlington Conservation District
Joe Johnson - Dillon, SC
Larry Gabric - NWS
Brad Powers - Blackridge Rural Water
David Tompkins - SC Department of Ag
Dale Herendeen - Abitibi Bowater
Joan Shelton - US Geological Survey
Scott Holland - Duke Energy
Steve Hammond - Duke Energy
George Galleher - Duke Energy

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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