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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 10-15          DNR News 803-667-0696
November 23, 2010

Drought Response Committee maintains status, long term forecast indicates potential ongoing drought

South Carolina Drought Map for November 23, 2010

For previously issued drought statements see the archived status reports.

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

Discussion:

The Drought Response Committee voted on Nov. 23 to maintain the first level of drought for 37 counties. Marlboro, Dillon, Marion, Florence, Horry, Williamsburg, Georgetown, Berkeley, and Charleston counties continue with no drought status. The incipient drought declaration is followed by increasing levels of severity to moderate, severe and extreme status. The committee was concerned over the strong likelihood of drought conditions worsening through the normal winter recharge season, although some temporary relief can be expected as water usage is typically lower in the winter months.

Hope Mizzell, S.C State Climatologist stated,"Most of South Carolina has experienced below normal rainfall since early September. The building deficit coupled with a forecast for a dry winter prompted S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to convene the committee to ensure that members and the public were prepared for potential worsening conditions." During incipient drought, DNR activates the Drought Information Center and increases monitoring and notification of the drought status.

Scott Willett with the Anderson Regional Joint Water System said the current lower water usage will begin to rise as spring approaches, "Right now outdoor water use is traditionally low, but once lawns are being watered and gardens planted we'll see usage begin to spike."

Northeast Drought Management Area committee member Mike Hancock from Lugoff- Elgin Water Authority stated, "We are dealing with a La Nina condition. Historically, La Nina means we can receive significantly lower rainfall. If conditions continue to follow the historical pattern then we will experience substantially lower rainfall through spring 2011."

Darryl Jones, S.C. Forestry Commission, reported that continuing dry conditions will result in an increase in wildfire activity across the state, "While fire occurrence has been close to normal so far this fall, we are concerned that dry conditions might continue through the winter. If it remains dry, we will probably see an extended wildfire season that lasts until spring. During the drought, wildfires start easier, burn more intensely and are harder to control because more fuel is available. With a drought and our ongoing resource shortages, we are concerned that we will see higher losses from wildfires." Please contact Darryl Jones for questions about wildfire activity at (803) 896-8800.

Stan Simpson with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says they have already reacted to the initial drought stage by lowering outflow from the Savannah River Basin lakes, "We tripped our first level of drought in August of this year and dropped to 4200 CFS (cubic feet per second) of daily outflow, to 4000 in mid-October. We expect that number to drop further still to 3800 in mid-January."

The information conveyed by the indicators was mixed and did not prompt immediate change, but committee members emphasized that if the below normal forecast for rainfall is verified, they will reconvene in mid-January. The committee also decided that with lower water demands during winter, action being taken at the local level is sufficient at this time.

Find out more about the State Climatology Office.

Contact South Carolina State Climatologist Dr.Hope Mizzell in Columbia at (803) 734-9568, or (803) 530-5793, or e-mail at mizzellh@dnr.sc.gov for more information.

South Carolina's natural resources are essential for economic development and contribute nearly $30 billion and 230,000 jobs to the state's economy overall. Find out why "Life's Better Outdoors".

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


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Sign-In Sheet

SC Drought Response Committee Meeting, November 23, 2010
Sign-In sheet
Name & AgencyName & Agency
Mike Caston - SJWD
David Baize - DHEC
George Galleher - Duke Energy
Dennis Chastain -
Vernon Osteen - SRNS
Elbert Warren - DCWSA
Eric Odom - Orangeburg DPU
Jimmy Bagley - City of Rock Hill
Jon Sherer - City of Columbia
Gregory Sprouse - CMCOG
Mitch Turner - SJWD Water District
Warren Harris - Salem Water
Bobby Brock - Marlboro Water Co.
Pickens Williams Jr. - Barnwell County
Tommy Miller - Orangeburg DPU
John Westcott - Spartanburg Water
Scott Motsinger - City of Rock Hill
Jim Hawkins - BV
Doug Young - Chickasaw Point POA
Scott Harder - SC DNR LWC
Joe Gellici - SC DNR LWC
Theron DeWitt - Darlington Cons. District
Jane Byrne - Charleston Public Works
Ed Saxon - BJWSA
Scott Willet - Anderson Regional Water
John Shelton - USGS
Steve Hammond - Duke Energy
Gregory Lamberty - NWS Columbia
Brannon Davis - SCEMD
Stan Simpson _ USACE
Darryl Jones - SC Forestry Commission
Mike Hancock - Lugoff-Elgin Water Authority
Brenda Nettles - Barnwell
Ken Rentiers - SC DNR LWC
Brett Witt - SC DNR Buddy Rivers - Rivers Farms
Hope Mizzell - SC DNR LWC