State climate officials say extensive rain since July means three coastal counties in South Carolina are no longer in drought status.
However, members of the South Carolina Drought Response Committee say they will hold off on declarations for the rest of the state until they see the impact of heavy rains from this week and late last week.
The committee removed Charleston, Jasper and Beaufort counties from drought status on Thursday. All other areas of the state still remain in the lowest level of drought or in moderate drought. Committee members will reevaluate the remaining counties on October 5.
“Some areas of (Charleston) County received over 16 inches in the last 60 days,” state climatologist Hope Mizzell told South Carolina Radio Network. “Jasper and Beaufort were downgraded to no drought status because, for example, Daufuskie Island had received 23.11 inches since mid-July (when the committee last met).”
Dillon, Marion, Horry, Georgetown, Colleton, and Hampton counties were downgraded from “moderate” drought to the lowest stage of “incipient” drought.
Back in July, the committee declared all counties to be in some level of drought, with the Midlands and coast at the second stage to the Upstate’s mostly incipient status. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 35 counties to be “natural disaster areas” due to crop loss from the lack of rain.