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It rained. Here’s how much more rain York, Lancaster, Chester counties still need.

Rock Hill rain, along with wet weather in Tega Cay and Lancaster, made a difference. Just not enough to ward off the ongoing drought.

On Halloween morning, the South Carolina Drought Response Committee met to assess what for months has been a worsening drought situation. There were warnings as recently as of late September in Rock Hill, that without rain soon the area would plunge into severe drought with its water use restrictions.

State leaders downgraded 11 counties from moderate to incipient drought. Another dropped out of any drought designation at all. The state lists drought as normal conditions, incipient, moderate, severe and extreme.

The state now has five counties, in coastal areas, in normal conditions and 14 in incipient status. York, Lancaster and Chester counties are among the 27 counties statewide still in moderate drought.

State leaders say it still would take more than two weeks of normal rainfall to see significant improvement in the state drought status.

“Although we’ve had a few days of rainfall, our overall situation has changed very little,” said Mike Hancock, general manager with Lugoff-Elgin Water Authority. “Groundwater, agriculture and forestry conditions indicate we have a long way to go before any significant drought relief.”

Still, the past two weeks helped. Rock Hill registered 4.48 inches of rain. Tega Cay had 3.83 inches. Lancaster had 3.6 inches. Those totals came as of the group meeting, which doesn’t include thunderstorms in some areas on Halloween night.

The committee will meet again in three or four weeks to reassess conditions, unless conditions worsen sooner.

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John Marks covers community growth, municipalities and general news mainly in the Fort Mill and York County areas. He began writing for the Herald and sister papers in 2005 and won dozens of South Carolina Press Association and other awards since.
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