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June 15, 2009

Drought officially over in South Carolina; All counties removed from drought status

For the first time since August 2006, no area of South Carolina is under a drought declaration. Increased rainfall frequency and coverage over the last six months have alleviated the drought conditions statewide. All 19 Upstate counties were removed from drought status June 10 by the South Carolina Drought Response Committee. On April 15 the committee lifted the drought declaration for the remaining 27 counties.

"The timing, amount and duration of the rainfall have brought all drought indicators back to normal levels," said Hope Mizzell, South Carolina state climatologist. "Many stations report above normal rainfall since January." (See table below.)

According to DNR hydrologist Masaaki Kiuchi all regularly monitored streams show no drought, and lake levels around South Carolina are normal except in the Savannah River Basin, which is slightly below normal. Upstate wells show improvement, and water levels are rising in most monitoring wells. However, groundwater levels in some areas of the Upstate may not be sufficient to adequately support streamflows if rainfall declines.

"Every region of the state has been impacted by this drought," said Ken Rentiers, chairman of the S.C. Drought Response Committee. "The return to a normal rainfall pattern brings welcome relief." The committee recommends that the public continue to use water wisely.

"Even though we have overcome the rainfall deficit associated with the drought, we are still dealing with some of the long-term drought effects," said Dennis Chastain, a member of the West Drought Committee. "Several of the upper Savannah reservoirs remain below full pool. We encourage residents of the northwestern areas of the Upstate to continue to voluntarily conserve our water resources. If we have learned anything over the past several years of dealing with drought, it is that no one should waste water."

Station Year to Date Rainfall Total Percent of Normal
Gaffney 27.09” 119%
Long Creek 34.07” 115%
Anderson 25.28” 115%
Greenville-Spartanburg 23.08” 99%
Chester 22.40” 105%
Saluda 23.46” 107%
Sumter 20.61” 100%
Orangeburg 22.17” 109%
Charleston 19.29” 100%

Contact South Carolina State Climatologist Hope Mizzell in Columbia at (803) 734-9568 or e-mail at mizzellh@dnr.sc.gov for more information.

South Carolina's natural resources are essential" for economic development and contribute nearly $30 billion and 230,000 jobs to the state's economy. Find out why "Life's Better Outdoors" at: www.dnr.sc.gov/green/index.html.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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