(That’s the sound I made while spitting out my coffee as I noticed September’s rainfall tally for the Savannah River Basin. Coincidentally, that’s how I imagined Mother Nature produced the rainfall that misted the basin last month.)
Misted might even be too forceful a word. Let me explain:
– Thurmond received a paltry half of an inch of rain for the entire month – tying its third worst performance for September since 1948.
– Russell collected 88% of its monthly rainfall (0.94 inches) in one five-hour period (Sept. 13-14).
– Hartwell bested the other two sub-basins with a *whopping* 1.41 inches compared to its 4.6-inch average for September. (That’s just under 31%. In school you can score higher on a test just by putting your name on the paper.)
The basin was so dry last month that if all the rain had fallen in the Thurmond sub-basin, it still would have been a half inch shy of Thurmond’s 3.5-inch average.
So, despite a solid showing in June and August this summer, the exceptionally high heat and September’s utter lack of rainfall helped usher the basin into Drought Level 1 Oct. 1.
When this occurs, it triggers our drought management plan, which conserves water in the reservoir system by reducing outflows from Thurmond Dam.
Our water managers’ conservative estimates project the basin will remain in Drought Level 1 through December. While this isn’t exactly ideal, at least it’s not expected to get much worse.
The last drought is still relatively close in our rearview mirror but we’d like to keep it behind us.
~ Jeremy S. Buddemeier, Corporate Communications Office