Instant success?

Coffee drinkers had mixed reactions Tuesday to the debut of Starbucks' new instant blend.

Russel A. Daniels

Recent rain has doused the Lowcountry but hasn't floated it out of near drought conditions.

The state remains in moderate drought status, the S.C. Drought Response Committee decided Thursday, despite more than nine inches of rain in some areas recently. Moderate drought means threatened by drought. The next stage declaration would start some water-use restrictions.

The moderate status was continued because of a concern that the recent rain was only an interruption to a pattern of below-normal rainfall that is forecast to continue, according to S.C. Natural Resources.

After a week of thundershowers, the Charleston area is still more than eight inches below normal for annual rainfall.

The rains have raised the Marion-Moultrie lakes by nearly a half inch since last week, but four public boat landings are closed because of low water, and six are posted with "launch at own risk" advisories.

On Moultrie, closed landings are General Moultrie, Thornley Forest and White Point Beach; advisory landings are West Dike, Richardson, Hatchery and Duck Pond, according to Santee Cooper.

On Marion, the closed landing is Sinkler. Advisory landings are Sparkleberry and Cathead.