LONG, HOT, DRY SUMMER IN STORE FOR PALMETTO STATE
Last week we reported on creeping drought conditions across the state of South Carolina – particularly in the Palmetto Upstate. Based on the latest data from the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska – things have gotten worse.
Two Palmetto State counties are currently experiencing “extreme” drought conditions, according to the center. A corner of Anderson County and a broad swath of Abbeville County fell under this “D3” classification – which is the second-worst designation on the national drought table.
Six South Carolina counties are currently experiencing “D2” – or “severe” – drought conditions. Another ten fall under the “D1” – or “moderate” drought status.
Take a look …
(Click to enlarge)
Last week the South Carolina Drought Response Committee – which is under the auspices of the state’s Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) – upgraded the drought status for 32 of South Carolina’s 46 counties. Twenty-eight counties were upgraded to the first level of drought, “incipient,” and four counties were upgraded to “moderate,” the second level of drought.
“The majority of the state has been dry and hot,” state climatologist Hope Mizzell said.
As we noted in our previous story, dry weather is expected across the south over the coming months as a record-setting El Niño event draws to a close.
El Niño is the periodic warming of the central and eastern equatorial regions of the Pacific Ocean. La Niña refers to the cooling of the Pacific that takes place in its aftermath.
Based on these shifting weather patterns, moisture is expected to concentrate further north in the continental United States – causing a hotter, dryer (and longer) summer for citizens living in the Deep South. And if that weren’t bad enough, a weak La Niña system means an end to the conditions that have hurricane activity at bay.
Obviously it’s been a year of weather extremes for the state. Nine months ago, record rainfall inundated the Palmetto State (with deadly consequences).
Now it’s a lack of water that’s beginning to cause real concern …