Storms don't alleviate long-term drought risk

June 16, 2011 

About two inches of rain fell on part of Beaufort County overnight Wednesday, but that won't be enough to downgrade the area's drought risk.

"What we need is a pattern of more normal rainfall, not just one event," state climatologist Hope Mizzell said.

High temperatures and low precipitation have led the S.C. Drought Response Committee to declare every county in the state under threat of drought.

The group will convene for a conference call at 10 a.m. today to discuss persistent dry conditions. Mizzell said it's unlikely any county will be declared normal, but she declined to speculate whether any areas will be upgraded to "moderate" or "severe" status.

The National Weather Service had reports of two inches of rainfall Wednesday in Bluffton and Hardeeville, and on Thursday, it forecast a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms today.

Mizzell said single storms can't alleviate the long-term risk of drought, but any bit of rain can help alleviate short-term soil dryness.

Follow reporter Kyle Peterson at twitter.com/eyeonbeaufortco

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