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 #01 - 22 May 31, 2001
COMMITTEE DECLARES MODERATE DROUGHT ACROSS ENTIRE STATE
State and local Drought
Response Committee members declared a "moderate" drought status for the entire
state Wednesday, May 30.
The state and local Drought
Response Committee, which met Wednesday, May 30, in Columbia to review
conditions and discuss the state's drought status, approved a four-part motion
made by Dean Moss, committee member and general manager of the Beaufort/Jasper
Water and Sewer Authority in Beaufort.
The four-part motion
provided that: 1) A moderate drought condition is declared for the entire
state. 2) The probability of going to severe drought status is high and depends
on how much rainfall the state receives over the next two to three weeks. 3)
Agriculture, as an economic sector, is already in what appears to be a nearly
crisis situation. Rainfall is needed to replenish irrigation supplies and
enable crop production. 4) The committee advises all water users that in the
near future the situation could become critical. Contingency plans should be
made to ensure adequate water supplies in the event of a future serious water
The committee's decision
upgrades the status of two coastal counties – Beaufort and Charleston – along
with nine Pee Dee counties - Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence,
Georgetown, Horry, Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg - from an "incipient"
drought, the first drought level, to the next level of "moderate" drought.
The committee stopped short of declaring a
"severe" drought status for portions of the Upstate as some had
anticipated. The 35 remaining South
Carolina counties already listed in the "moderate" drought level remained
A moderate drought
declaration, the second of four drought levels specified in the S.C. Drought
Response Act of 2000, means that drought conditions have continued to
deteriorate and are expected to persist.
Freddy Vang, deputy director
of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Land, Water and Conservation
Division, says this is just the beginning of the process.
"Long-term forecast projections have been
remarkably accurate," Vang said. "Based
on the outlook, there is a strong probability that the situation is going to
get worse between July and October when we have above-normal temperatures and
low stream flows. It's prudent that we
declare the entire state in moderate drought status with the condition that we
continue to monitor. Without
significant rainfall we may have to reconvene and upgrade to severe."
Masaaki Kiuchi, S.C.
Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hydrologist, reported groundwater,
streamflows and lake levels across the state remain very low.
Recent rain should increase streamflow
across the state for a short period of time.
Recreational boaters are
urged to watch dropping water levels in streams and lakes that could create
hazardous conditions and to proceed with extreme caution.
Major Alvin Taylor, DNR coordinator of
boating safety programs, urges all boaters to be alert to the new water hazards
such as shallow water, stumps, logs and old pilings and rocks created by
Kiuchi says as temperatures rise and the
demand is higher, water should be retained in the lakes as much as
possible. The shallow groundwater table
in the Coastal Plain and Upstate have benefited from recent rain.
However, the response to rain in the Upstate
SPECIAL NEWS RELEASE #01 - 26 (Continued)
David Baize, a director in the bureau of
water at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), says
DHEC has contacted water suppliers and dischargers informing them of the status
of the drought. "Dischargers are
advised to maximize treatment and minimize discharges," Baize said. "DHEC continues
to monitor stream quality accordingly.
Water suppliers are advised to take appropriate actions to help ensure
adequate water for their customers and to notify DHEC of any problems."
David Tompkins, assistant commissioner with
the S.C. Department of Agriculture says the drought has taken its toll on
farmers, as well. "Some farmers have
not planted because of dry weather.
Rains received yesterday are helpful but this rain will be gone in about
a week," Tompkins said. "We need at
least a good inch a week or better. One
period of rainfall is not going to get us out of this drought."
Ken Cabe of the S.C. Forestry Commission says
recent showers have temporarily improved wildfire conditions, but wildland fire
managers say the relief may be short-lived.
"So far this month, wildfire occurrence has been twice what is normally
expected for May," Cabe said. "During
the month, Forestry Commission firefighters have already responded to 670
wildland blazes that burned more than 3,000 acres of forest land."
But fire is only one area where drought is
impacting the state's woodlands.
Foresters say if the drought continues, many of the tree seedlings
planted last winter are expected to die.
If so, this could be the second year in a row for significant reforestation
failures due to dry weather.
The S.C. Department of
Natural Resources, which coordinates the State Drought Program, will continue
to monitor the drought situation and provide updates as needed.
For more information, contact Hope Mizzell,
State Drought Program coordinator, in the DNR State Climatology Office at (803)
737-0800 in Columbia.
-Written by Dawn Mills Campbell -
Station Precipitation 30 Year Normal
CONWAY 155.61 3.45
DILLON 128.77 -6.93
FLORENCE 8 NE 126.86 -10.43
ORANGEBURG 2 122.84 -17.76
BISHOPVILLE 8 NNW 117.97 -17.87
WALTERBORO 2 SW 135.28 -18.14
SALUDA 126.83 -18.43
CAMDEN 3 W 117.45 -20.83
CHESTER 1 NW 122 -23.17
CHERAW 121.74 -23.91
CHARLESTON WSO AP 130.17 -24.29
EDGEFIELD 3 NNE 112.03 -26.56
JOHNSTON 4 SW 120.62 -27.01
FORT MILL 4 NW 115.23 -27.33
SUMTER 116.14 -28.16
BEAUFORT 7 SW 122.94 -31.13
AIKEN 4 NE 117.94 -34.96
UNION 8 SW 112.32 -38.61
CLEMSON UNIVERSITY 123.69 -39.37
GRNVL SPART WSO 109.5 -44.17
CLEVELAND 4 S 133.29 -48.19
WALHALLA 135.3 -49.24
30th Drought Meeting Attendees
Find out more about the State Climatology Office at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/ or by calling (803) 734-9100.