For the first time in nearly three years, none of South Carolina is officially considered to be under any kind of drought conditions.
The South Carolina Drought Response Committee voted Wednesday to remove drought designations for all 46 counties because of above-normal rainfall for the past five months. Prior to that, 22 counties had been under “moderate” drought, while the rest of the state was considered to be under “incipient” (lowest level) drought.
“The committee downgraded the drought for all counties,” State Climatologist Hope Mizzell said after the meeting, “Basically, South Carolina is officially drought-free.”
Mizzell said the last time South Carolina was drought-free was in June 2010. However, she said there have only been 10 total drought-free months since 2006.
Mizzell said above-normal rain levels since the fall and projected future rainfall helped the committee make its decision. “We’ve just had that reliable, normal, sometimes above-normal rainfall going back to December,” she said, “And that’s what we knew it would take to recover (from the drought).”
Many of the lakes in the Savannah River watershed remain below normal, The State newspaper reported. Lake Jocassee in the Upstate was listed at 17 feet below on April 23.