South Carolina in moderate drought

All of South Carolina is experiencing a moderate drought.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- All of South Carolina is experiencing a moderate drought.

The state Drought Response Committee voted Thursday to increase the drought status in eight Upstate counties from the lowest level and to drop the status from severe in Horry and Marion counties.

At the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, rainfall totals are more than four inches behind the annual average. Other locations around the area aren't fairing much better.

The eight counties upgraded to the second-level drought status are Abbeville, Anderson, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Oconee and Pickens.

Committee members considered a two-level jump to severe in some counties but decided to monitor the situation. They meet again in three weeks.

Duke Energy officials predict the drought will continue at least through the fall and possibly the winter. Lake Jocassee is down 16 feet from normal, and Lake Keowee is down five feet.

State climatologists say the best chance for rain is a tropical storm or hurricane.

For more on the situation check out the drought outlook for winter from the SkyWACH weather team's Justin Kier.

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(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)