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State Climate Office                
NEWS RELEASE         
April 6, 2017

Drought committee makes few changes to S.C. drought statuses

South Carolina Drought Map for April 6, 2017

Move cursor over the dates below to view a previous drought status map.
Feb 2, 2017 |  Dec 1, 2016 |  Oct 26, 2016 |  Aug 17, 2016 |  Jul 8, 2016 |  Oct 5, 2015 | 
Sep 24, 2015 |  Jul 16, 2015 |  Jun 19, 2015 |  Jan 15,2015  |  Nov 20, 2014 |  Sep 16, 2014 | 
Apr 24, 2013 |  Jan 31, 2013 |  Dec 11, 2012 |  Sep 27, 2012 |  Jul 19, 2012 |  Jun 6, 2012 | 
Apr 25, 2012 |  Mar 9, 2012 |  Nov 8, 2011 |  Sep 29, 2011 |  Sep 8, 2011 |  Jul 14, 2011 | 
Jun 17, 2011 |  Jun 2, 2011 |  Feb 3, 2011 |  Nov 23, 2010 |  Oct 7, 2010 |  Jul 9, 2010 | 
Dec 9, 2009 |  Oct 16, 2009 |  Sep 24, 2009 |  Sep 2, 2009 |  Jun 10, 2009 |  Apr 15, 2009 | 
Feb 19, 2009 |  Oct 28, 2008 |  Sep 16, 2008 |  Aug 5, 2008 |  Jun 30, 2008 |  Apr 16, 2008 | 
Jan 22, 2008 |  Sep 5, 2007 |  Jun 6, 2007 |  May 8, 2007 |  Feb 23, 2007 |  Sep 20, 2006 | 
Aug 16, 2006 |  Apr 27, 2006 |  Jul 15, 2004 |  Jun 28, 2004 |  Jun 8, 2004 |  Apr 24, 2003 | 
Nov 21, 2002 |  Sep 24, 2002 |  Aug 26, 2002 |  Jul 24, 2002 |  Jun 19, 2002 |  May 31, 2001 | 
Jul 26, 2000 |  Jun 7, 2000 |  May 24, 2000 |  Oct 21, 1999 |  Sep 30, 1999 |  Sep 9, 1999 | 
Aug 11, 1999 |  Jun 8, 1999 |  May 4, 1999 |  Apr 20, 1999 |  Jan 28, 1999 |  Nov 10, 1998 | 
Sep 10, 1998 |  Aug 19, 1998 |  Jul 14, 1998 |  Jul 1, 1998 | 
For previously issued drought statements see the archived status reports.

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

The South Carolina Drought Response Committee met via conference call Thursday to analyze the drought statuses of counties statewide. While the state has seen rainfall during the last six weeks, some areas continue to battle a level of drought and are trying to recover from long-term lack of precipitation.

All of the Northeast counties are now classified as incipient- that’s an upgrade for all counties with the exception of Lancaster and Kershaw, which were already at incipient status. The Central counties stayed the same with the exception of Georgetown County, which was upgraded to incipient status. And all counties in the West and South regions maintained their current statuses.

“Rains over the last two weeks have accelerated field preparation and corn planting,” S.C. Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner Aaron Wood stated. “Winter wheat, cool-season pasture, spring forage, and early-season vegetable yields look to be down because of poor growing conditions.”

Reports show soil moisture across the state is below the five-year average, and this information raises cause for concern as South Carolina approaches the growing season and warmer weather.

“You have to understand that we have been very dry for a very long time, and wet for a short period of time,” Naturalist and West Area Drought Committee Member Dennis Chastain said. “There has been some conspicuous improvement in the upper levels of the soil and the near term looks good for the beginning of the planting season, but at the deeper levels the soil is still very dry. And these upper Savannah reservoirs look like what you would see during a long hot, dry summer.”

According to the South Carolina Forestry Commission (SCFC), wildfire activity in March was 70 percent higher than usual for this time of the year. But the recent rains have played a role in reducing the potential for short-term danger.

“Wildfire activity normally peaks in April, so we do expect to have an uptick in fires through the rest of the month,” SCFC Forest Protection Chief Darryl Jones pointed out, “until ‘greenup’ occurs, when the grasses and other plants on the forest floor begin growing.”

Lugoff-Elgin Water Authority Manager Mike Hancock added that some regions are interdependent due to the waterways flowing through neighboring counties and states, and those circumstances have to be taken into consideration when the committee discusses the possibility of changing drought statuses.

“The Catawba-Wateree Basin is in Low Inflow Protocol Stage 1 Drought according to Duke’s Drought Management Plan, which provided additional support for maintaining incipient at least along the waterway” he stated.

The Upstate counties will remain in their current drought statuses due to low streamflow levels and notable declines in water levels for reservoirs in the Savannah and Saluda Basins. The recent rains improved streamflow conditions, but those improved conditions are expected to only be temporary.

“The Pee Dee region has experienced below-normal streamflow conditions over the past several months and supported an upgrade for the counties in this region to be changed to incipient drought,” SCDNR Hydrologist Scott Harder said.

“Even though we have had significant rainfall in the last few days, the Drought Response Committee members representing the ten-county Northeast drought management area agreed to place these counties in the incipient drought status, Clemson Extension Agronomy Agent Patricia DeHond added. “Until recently, we were behind in soil moisture. And current drought indices, streamflow and lake levels all indicate drought conditions are moderate to incipient, with little to no additional rainfall in the forecast for the next two weeks.”

The committee will meet by the end of May to discuss drought conditions and change county drought statuses if necessary.

Contact Dr. Mizzell in Columbia at (803) 734-9568 or e-mail at mizzellh@dnr.sc.gov for more information.

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


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SC Drought Response Committee Meeting, April 6, 2017
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