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The S.C. Drought Response Committee met Monday, November 27, via conference call to update the drought statuses of all counties in South Carolina. Although Spartanburg County has experienced a dry November, the official drought status of our area remains unchanged at “normal.”
No major drought impacts were reported, but some members of the committee expressed concern about the potential for dry winter conditions due to La Nina. Winter rainfall is vital for groundwater and surface water recharging.
"The drought status for 15 counties was upgraded since rainfall in those areas has generally been less than four inches in the last 60 days," SCDNR State Climatologist Dr. Hope Mizzell said. "The counties upgraded to incipient include Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Chesterfield, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Hampton, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, Richland and York. Incipient status is considered a 'drought watch' phase," SCDNR Senior Hydrologist Scott Harder added. “In the Pee Dee Basin, below-normal streamflow levels supported the upgrade in drought status to incipient for those counties.”
And while wildfire occurrence has been low so far this month, fuels that grew over the growing season are rapidly curing. S.C. Forestry Commission Forest Protection Chief Darryl Jones said, "If dry conditions continue, we expect to see a rise in the number of wildfires, especially on days when high winds coincide with low relative humidity. A developing drought could also result in poor seedling survival as we enter tree planting season."
Some parts of the state, however, have received above-normal rainfall and were downgraded to more positive drought statuses. "Above-normal rainfalls in the upper Savannah Basin over the past several months have improved streamflow conditions in Oconee and Anderson counties," SCDNR Senior Hydrologist Scott Harder stated. "The improved streamflow conditions support the removal of an incipient drought status for these two counties."
The State Drought Committee will continue to monitor conditions and will meet as needed.
Spartanburg Water is dedicated to the protection and preservation of our local water supply. We monitor the same indicators that the State Drought Committee does, as well as local data that impacts our area, on a daily basis. The State Committee’s decision to maintain the “normal” drought declaration for Spartanburg County is consistent with our observations, and Spartanburg Water has an abundant supply of water to meet the needs of our community at this time. We advocate that consumers always use water wisely and apply smart water practices, but no special restrictions are needed at this time.
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