- Associated Press - Friday, April 7, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - While parts of South Carolina are cleaning up from severe storms and flooding this week, most of the northern part of the state continues to deal with drought.

A few weeks of rain haven’t been enough to make up for months of dry weather, according to the state Drought Response Committee, which met Thursday.

The worst problems are in the mountains, where the committee has Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties in a severe drought .

“You have to understand that we have been very dry for a very long time, and wet for a short period of time,” committee member Dennis Chastain said.

Reservoirs in the area are at levels typically seen at the end of a hot, dry summer and that is concerning with summer still two months away, Chastain said.

While Walhalla has had an inch above normal rainfall in the past month, the same Oconee County weather station is more than 20 inches below normal rainfall for the past year, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center.

Agriculture officials report soil moisture levels are below average, which is affecting planting.

And the Forestry Commission reported 70 percent more wildfires than the average March across South Carolina - another indication of how dry the weather has been.

Twelve counties north and west of Columbia are in a moderate drought, and 14 counties around Aiken and the northeast part of the state are in an incipient drought.

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