The recent rain deficit across South Carolina continues to compound early drought conditions across portions of the Midlands and Upstate.
The U.S. Drought Monitor continues to list Aiken, Saluda, Newberry, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Richland and Sumter Counties in the first stage of drought, known as A0: Abnormally Dry.
A0 is the lowest stage of drought on the scale which goes up to A4: Exceptional Drought. The next stage of drought would be A1: Moderate Drought.
Perhaps a sign of things to come is that central North Carolina recently rose to the Moderate Drought status.
In South Carolina, the Drought Response Committee meets to establish which stage of drought is currently impacting specific counties in the the state.
The last meeting, which took place in mid August, included Saluda, Newberry and Fairfield Counties in the first stage of drought. On the SCDRC's scale the first stage is called incipient.
"If we continue to see little rain across the area, that would compound these early stages of drought," says SkyWACH Meteorologist Justin Kier. "We really could use some rain or we may see fire and agricultural impacts down the road this winter and spring."
The drought status during the fall months is important as it lays the ground work for winter and spring. Dry weather impacts fire weather potential during the most active months: January through March.
Wildfires feed on dry forest fuels, like pine straw, to continue moving across an area. The drier the land, generally the more fuel fires will have.