Aiken, Edgefield stuck in severe drought

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COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s drought conditions are improving, but a small section of the state, including Aiken County, continues to suffer.

Aiken, Edgefield, Abbeville and McCormick counties, which make up part of the Savannah River Basin, remain under severe drought conditions, according to the S.C. Drought Response Committee.

However, the committee, which convened Wednesday, lowered the drought status for most other counties in the state. “Severe” is the third level of drought.

Oconee, Pickens and Anderson counties were downgraded to moderate, while Saluda, Greenwood, Greenville, Newberry and Laurens counties kept their moderate designation. All other counties in the state were lowered to the incipient level of drought.

“A combination of Tropical Storm Beryl and a series of passing frontal boundaries enhanced rainfall and cloud cover over the last three to four weeks for most of the state,” said Hope Mizzell, a state climatologist, in a news release Wednesday from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

Stan Simpson, representing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the past three-month inflows into Lake Thurmond have been the lowest recorded since 1954.

“Conditions are looking better for many parts of the state, but we are entering the hottest time of the year with uncertainty in rainfall patterns going forward,” said drought committee Chairman Ken Rentiers, in the DNR statement.


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