High heat, no rain forces Charleston into incipient drought status (update: worse)

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Update June 18: The recent rains haven't been enough to thwart the weeks of intense (and record) heat, and the drought has continued to worsen. 

On Friday the State Climatology Office upgraded much of the Midlands and all of the Lowcountry to the second of four levels, from "Incipient" to "Moderate."

Charleston has received 24% of its normal rainfall since May 1.

Meanwhile the U.S. Drought Monitor maintains more detailed graduated maps and points to worsening conditions the further east and south you go in the state — in the direction of the Savannah (click the map to the right for more detail.)

167 Under their conditions half of Charleston County is classified on the third of five levels, "Severe."

Over the next few days much isn't expected to change, with only a slight chance of thunderstorms tonight.

And be cautious with fire, Darryl Jones with the S.C. Forestry Commission said, "We already hit our five year average in the first two weeks for the month of June as far as wildfires."

— Update by Ken Hawkins.

Update June 3: The state's Drought Response Committee met electronically on June 2nd and officially declared Marlboro, Dillon, Marion, Florence, Horry, Williamsburg, Georgetown, Berkeley, and Charleston counties under incipient drought status. These nine counties now join the rest of the state with incipient status.

A few showers and storms passed by to our west during the early morning hours, and there is a slight chance we'll see some more rain later this afternoon. However, the heat and humidity will push into the area this afternoon as well and the forecast for the weekend still looks hot and humid with temps in the lower 90's each day.

To keep up with the weekend's weather conditions, here's a link to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's forecasts for the Charleston area.

First reporting: The heat has been unrelenting, and the rain has been nowhere in sight. In response to the Lowcountry's unusually dry condition, the state's drought committee will soon be declaring Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, and Colleton counties in state of "incipient drought."

The term "incipient drought" means there is the threat of drought. However, with forecasts calling for below normal rainfall and above normal temperatures for at least for the next two weeks, it's not looking too good for the home team.

According to totals taken from the Charleston International Airport, the last substantial rainfall was on May 11th, leaving behind 0.25 inches. For the month of May, Charleston saw a total of 0.41 inches, 3.10 inches below normal.

For more on the dry spell taking hold on the Lowcountry, pop over to the article in today's Post and Courier.

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