For the first time since August 2006, no area of the state is under a drought declaration, thanks to increased rainfall over the last six months. State Climatologist Hope Mizzell says on Wednesday the Drought Response Committee removed all 19 Upstate counties from the drought list. The drought declaration was lifted for 27 other counties in April.
Mizzell says it’s the timing of the rain, as well as its amount and duration that made a difference. “We know that a drought of this duration and its impacts on our hydrology that, because of our ground water resources and surface water resources, it was going to take an extended period of normal to above-normal rainfall. And that’s what we’ve seen. We had the winter rain we needed, followed by the rain in the spring, when many people have had normal if not above normal rainfall, and that was enough.”
Mizzell says she is cautiously optimistic. “There are signs that we’ve recovered. But because we have been in drought for so long, and because ground water is at the lower end of the normal range, we can go back into drought quickly if the rainfall pattern changes, and we start getting a period of below-normal rainfall. Farmers are especially vulnerable this time of year. They need the water when the crops are growing.”
Mizzell says some of the state’s water reservoirs remain below full-pool.