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South Carolina now drought-free

Staff Report //January 30, 2020//

South Carolina now drought-free

Staff Report //January 30, 2020//

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The entire state of South Carolina is now drought-free as all 46 counties have been upgraded to normal drought levels by the state Drought Response Committee.

Citing above average rainfall in December 2019 and January, the committee voted unanimously during Thursday’s conference call to remove the drought status of 27 counties that still had a drought designation, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

In December, the committee downgraded 24 counties from moderate draught status to incipient, or the first level of drought, including Richland and Lexington. Three counties — Abbeville, Edgefield and McCormick — maintained moderate drought status.  

The state had been dealing with drought since May.

“Last year’s drought brought significant impacts to agriculture, low streamflows, and increased wildfires,” said Hope Mizzell, S.C. state climatologist, in the news release. “It is good news to see all drought indicators return to normal.”

Rainfall totals for December placed the month in the top 10 wettest Decembers on state record. Although conditions across portions of the state had improved in the fall, the December rain brought relief to the remaining 27 counties.

Frank Alsheimer, National Weather Service science and operations officer, told the committee that there are no extended dry spells in the immediate future. Forecasts indicate periodic rain during the next few weeks and an active jet stream which will continue to contribute moisture to the southeastern region.

The drought committee will meet again as conditions warrant.