Every county in South Carolina is now considered to be in some sort of drought, according to the state’s Drought Response Committee.
In its meeting earlier this week, the committee upgraded 14 counties to “incipient” (lowest-stage) drought after rainfall significantly declined in those areas over the past month. Those counties are mostly in the Midlands and Pee Dee region. Three additional counties — Edgefield, Greenwood and McCormick — were increased from incipient to “moderate” drought.
State Climatologist Dr. Hope Mizzell said there has been a shift in the rainfall pattern over the last few weeks, with the very dry Upstate finally receiving much-needed rain, while the Pee Dee region seeing its own rain significantly decrease. Despite improved rainfall coverage for the Upstate, the Committee decided to maintain the drought status of those counties out of concern the rainfall relief may be short-lived.
“While we on the drought committee recognize that the agriculture community is possibly experiencing a moderate drought, there are not enough other indicators at this time to justify an overall upgrade to moderate drought for the Southern Drought Management Area,” committee member Marion Rizer, said in a statement released by the committee.
Fourteen counties were upgraded to “incipient,” the first level of drought: Lancaster, Kershaw, Chesterfield, Marlboro, Darlington, Lee, Florence, Dillon, Marion, Williamsburg, Georgetown, Horry, Beaufort and Jasper. Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, and Abbeville counties remained in moderate drought, while all other counties stayed in incipient status.
The committee will reevaluate conditions in four to six weeks.