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The dreams of state drought I oni tors are coming true. A confluence of happy but unpredicted events have come together in the last few months to slake South Carolina and Georgia's short-term thirst for water and go a long way toward ending the five-year "hydrologic drought" that has drained the region's deeper water supplies. The South Carolina Drought Response Comm ittee meets next Thursday and is expected to sign ifican tly lower the state's drought status. and possibly lift it altogeth­ er in some areas. In Georgia. S tate Climatologist David Stooksbury said the short-term drought is over and the outlook for long·term recovery is bright. This summer, no one would have expect­ ed talk of an end to the drought so soon. It would have taken an onslaught of trop­ ical storms right over the Southeast when in the last four years, one or fewer was the

The western hemis;Jhen I lso was e n ter· ing an El N ino period. Altl,uugh thal phe· nomenon increases winter ra i nfall throughout the southern United States. it also depresses tropical storm activity in the Atlantic. That made the possibility of an unusual­ ly wet October and Nove mber - usuaUy the driest two months of the year - seem remote. " Tt looked kind of bleak then." Mr. Brown said, recaliing this summer when the drought committee decided to down­ grade most of the state to severe drought and the thirsty Pee Dee to extreme drought. "\ don't think anybody could have guessed we would have been in this good of condi­ tion." That "good condition" means a normal amount of soil moisture that also is con· nected to the deeper water table, allowing

Ra ' may j e in t e coId a1 " this weeken 1 r -r s t a e U
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By Charmaine Smith
IndependeOl·MdJ.!

weat� . ':' li : , ::' �Ulda'.: A normal high for Sunday would be 61 degrees. but this Sunday the mercury is expected to reach into the mere 40s and drop into the 30s by nightfall. Counties bordering North Carolina and Tennessee might even see some snowflakes before the weekend is over, Mr. Hinson said. Saturday's forecast rairLfall is expected to turn into snow f ar· ther north. and some accumula­ tion is expected in the higher ele­ vations. Temperat ures should warm back up to the mid-50s on Monday and continue to rise until Thursday, when another storm front is expected, Mr. Hinson said.
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Please see Rains, Page 7A

Grab the blankets � nd the um breUas because the National Weather Service is callir 's for rain and be low normal temperatures this · ·eekend. The National Weather Service. based in Greer. says residents in the Upstate and northeast Georgia have a 40 percent chance of seeing rain fall in their area today with most of it expected to clear by Saturday afternoon. said one of the service's meteorolo· gists. Rodney H inson. Once the rain has cleared a band of cold high pressure will move into the area. bringing cold­ er temperatures and windy

From Page lA

rain to contribute to ground­ water rather than evaporating or wetting the topsoil alone, he said. . The drought committee will probably upgrade most of the state to incipient drought, and may upgrade the coastal areas to non-drought status, he said. The committee got that chance because the region did get the wetter October and November it needed, when the southern ' jet. stream was pushed farther ' north than usual, Mr. Brown said. Although El Nino caused fewer named tropical storms this year than last, more of them came ashore - at least four - and that helped water Georgia and South Carolina, too, he said. Finally, El Nino will con­ tribute to deeper water sup­ plies by giving the Southeast a wet winter. It is during the coming cold months that rain­ fall most efficiently gets deep underground. That will help coastal aquifers and the Upstate's strained rock wells a chance to recover, said Clemson Un iversity agricultural mete­ orologist Dale Linvill. The water level in the shal­ low wells should rise up to 4 feet by this spring, although that's not enough to return them to mid-1990s levels, he said. Not until then can the long-term drought be declared dead and buried. "Everyone can recognize the end of a short-term drought, the drought that affects green and growing things," Mr. Linvill said. "Not everyone recognizes when we're getting out ,of a long­ term drought."

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