A press release from the South Carolina Drought Response Committee says they have upgraded the drought status for 17 counties in the state.
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.
Three counties were upgraded to “moderate,” the second level of drought: McCormick, Greenwood, and Edgefield and Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, and Abbeville counties all remain in moderate drought.
“Most of the Pee Dee region received regular afternoon showers up until about three weeks ago, when they turned the spigot off. We’ve been getting a few scattered showers, but only about a tenth of an inch at a time, which isn’t nearly enough to keep up with evaporation in this heat. Crops are suffering and farmers are forced to run their irrigation systems, if they have them,” Clemson Extension Agronomy Agent Trish DeHond said.
According to experts, the committee faces a challenge as they try to agree on a declaration for each county that takes into consideration multiple factors, including agriculture, forest fire risk, water supply and water quality.
The Committee will continue to monitor the situation closely and will reevaluate conditions in four to six weeks.