Weather Experts: Tropical depression could help drought conditions

COLUMBIA (WIS) - Hurricane season is a month away and with the Palmetto State under moderate to severe drought conditions, weather experts say some tropical weather could be the perfect prescription for the Midlands.

"You don't want to wish a tropical formation on South Carolina, but a depression with winds at around 30 to 37 miles per hour that could deliver a 4 or 5 inch rain over a couple of days would be just what the doctor ordered," said News 10 Meteorologist Ben Tanner.

Tanner says the lack of rain this year is much like last year, and adds that South Carolina has not been under a normal drought status statewide since 2009. The state is currently five inches short of normal rainfall levels, and meteorologists say there seems to be no sign of significant measurable rainfall for the next 10 days.

"Not in the six to ten day outlook," said Tanner looking ahead in the forecast. "The good news is that this time of year as we turn the corner into late Spring early summer, we do see more showers and storms that fire up just because of heating of the day. The problem with those is there's nothing organized about them and they are incredibly hard to predict," added Tanner.

While the state has a rain deficit, Tanner has not seen a shortage of "rainy days" through each of the last four months in 2012. "So far this year, we've averaged 12 to 15 days a month, each month, with at least a trace a rain," said Tanner. "The problem is so many of those days we're just that, a trace of rainfall… and that's not enough."

If the lack of rainfall continues, the Midlands, who are currently under a moderate drought status, may join seven other counties in the state who are under a severe drought status.

Tanner says the last time he remembers a significant drought that led to voluntary water restrictions was from 1998-2002.

Climatologists will continue to monitor conditions and will reassess each county's status in the next six weeks unless the lack of rain continues and calls for a quicker assessment.

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