Believe it or not, we’re in drought
The drought is washing away, raindrop by raindrop. The Lowcountry is on track to see its third-wettest February since records started. Maybe wetter.
Today80% rain chance, high in the mid-50s.SundaySunny. High in the 70s.Monday90% chance of rain, possible thunderstorms, high in the low 60s.National Weather Service, Charleston.February rainfall to date*5.96 inches.Rainiest Februaries on record1983 — 6.351940 — 7.501998 — 10.17 *As of 5 p.m. ThursdayS.C. State Climatology Office, National Weather Service, Charleston
But the drought is not over yet. The federal Climate Prediction Center’s three-month forecast still calls for below-average rainfall.
For today and the time being, though, it’s rain.
“Staying put for most of the day. Long periods of moderate rain. There will probably be some breaks, but they won’t be long,” said meteorologist Brett Cimbora with the National Weather Service, Charleston. The rain is expected to quit Sunday, then return Monday.
Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties remain in moderate drought, a state designation that means there is an increasing threat of drought. The region climbed out of drought conditions briefly last year.
“Much of the coastal area was out of drought until you started slipping back in December,” said Hope Mizzell, state climatologist. Then came a record dry January, she said. “Have conditions improved? Certainly.”
But conditions now are “muddy drought,” when everything looks wet but the water supply hasn’t recharged.
“It’s not the standing water you see on the surface. It’s the groundwater, lakes, the streams.
What we look for is what happens when the rain stops. If there’s an extended dry period, do they tend to hold their water levels or drop? Have conditions stabilized?” she said.
Drought has plagued the Lowcountry and state off and on since the late 1990s.Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on Twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.