Polk County no longer even dry; recent rain erases drought

Published 4:01 pm Monday, June 15, 2009

The drought had been more severe and persisted longer in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina than in most other areas of the Carolinas.

However, officials in both states warn that dry conditions could return quickly if recent rainfall does not continue into the hot summer months.

In Polk County, precipitation remained below normal through the first two months of this year with only 3.93 inches in January and 1.72 inches in February.

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However, the weather pattern changed markedly in March, which brought 7.99 inches of precipitation. Rainfall was about average in April, but increased again in May with 7.72 inches.

According to observations for the National Weather Service in Tryon, measurable rainfall was recorded on 21 of the 31 days in May.

Through the first five months of the year, precipitation in Polk County was near normal levels and the area has continued to see plentiful rain in June. &bsp;

Polk County finished last year with a precipitation deficit of more than 17 inches. That followed an even drier year in 2007 when the county had a precipitation deficit of nearly 23 inches.

The region also suffered an extended drought between 1999 and 2002 with 1999 and 2000 being the driest. Ground surface water levels had been severely depleted, but rebounded with a precipitation surplus of more than 17 inches in 2003 and near average precipitation through 2006.