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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

June 2, 2011

Drought Response Committee places entire state in incipient drought status

The State Agency Members of the S.C. Drought Response Committee, meeting electronically on June 2, has declared Marlboro, Dillon, Marion, Florence, Horry, Williamsburg, Georgetown, Berkeley, and Charleston counties under incipient drought status. These nine counties now join the rest of the state with incipient status. The incipient drought declaration is followed by increasing levels of severity to moderate, severe and extreme status.

Hope Mizzell, S.C State Climatologist stated, "The lack of rainfall coverage combined with the unseasonable hot weather has brought all counties into the first stage of drought. Over the last week daily evaporation rates have reached as high as 0.40". Charleston reported the second driest May on record receiving only 0.41" for the entire month."

Darryl Jones, S.C. Forestry Commission, reported the Keetch Byram Drought Index has reached drought criteria for all counties. Wildfire activity has picked up in the last couple of weeks. The high heat has already impacted the relative greenness of fine fuels in most of the state.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, as of May 29 statewide soil moisture levels were reported as 14 percent or very short, 42 percent or short, 43 percent or adequate, and 1 percent or surplus.

During incipient drought, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources activates the Drought Information Center and increases monitoring and notification of the drought status.

Contact South Carolina State Climatologist Hope Mizzell in Columbia at (803) 530-5793 or e-mail at mizzellh@dnr.sc.gov for more information.

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