State in another year of drought

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Skies were a clear azure on Tuesday, just as they were the day before and the day before that. It's been months since some areas have had a soaking rain.


Drought is again tightening its grip on the state, which has suffered drought conditions during eight of the past 10 years.

If there is no rain this week, the state drought response committee will meet to consider raising the drought level, said state climatologist Hope Mizzell.

Streams in the western part of the state are running below normal, and it's been almost three months - Feb. 13 - since Charleston got more than a inch of rain.

Fifteen counties in the Savannah River and Catawba River basins are already in an incipient drought, as they have been for months.

Only two of the past 10 years - 2003 and 2005 - have been without a drought declaration affecting some area of South Carolina.

An incipient drought requires closer monitoring of water supplies. A moderate drought means more monitoring and notification of the media about dry conditions, while severe and extreme droughts can mean water restrictions.

Drought declarations are based on things such as soil moisture, forest fire danger and stream and water levels.