COLUMBIA — Counties in The T&D Region remain in the mildest stage of drought, the S.C. Drought Response Committee decided Friday.
The committee lifted the drought declaration completely for several counties in the Lowcountry, including Georgetown, Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Colleton, Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton. Over the past 30 days, 6 to 14 inches of rainfall have fallen across much of coastal South Carolina.
“Most of the coastal counties within the Southern DMA have returned to typical seasonal precipitation patterns with a chance of afternoon and evening showers almost daily due to atmospheric instability from the sea breeze,” Charleston County Commission of Public Works Jason Thompson said. “Crop Moisture Index and Palmer Drought Severity Index corroborate the precipitation data for the coastal counties, thus supporting moving all but the most inland county, Orangeburg County, out of incipient drought status.”
Additionally, Oconee, Pickens and Anderson counties remain normal.
The incipient drought status is maintained in the remaining 35 counties, including Calhoun and Bamberg.
The drought’s impact on agriculture was a key indicator in the committee’s decision to keep the incipient drought declaration in place for those areas. Without timely rain, pasture and crops will quickly show stress due to high temperature.
Reports show spotty rainfall across most counties, according to Aaron Wood, S.C. Department of Agriculture assistant commissioner.
“Persistent below-normal streamflow conditions in the middle portions of the Savannah Basin supported the decision to maintain an Incipient drought status for the counties of Abbeville, Greenwood, Edgefield, Aiken, Barnwell and Allendale,” SCDNR Senior Hydrologist Scott Harder said. “Below-normal streamflow conditions for much of the Pee Dee Drought Management Area also supported maintaining an incipient status for this region. An upgrade to a no drought status in most of the Southern Drought Management Area was supported by improved streamflow levels on the Salkehatchie and Coosawhatchie rivers.”
The committee will continue to monitor the weather and will meet again in August. More information about drought conditions and drought policy in South Carolina is available at www.scdrought.com.