Even after last recent inclement weather resulting in about a half-inch of rainfall, precipitation across Richland County has been scarce ever since Tropical Storm Irma raked the Midlands Sept. 11-12.

While Richland County is not in a drought, it is in an “abnormally dry” stage according to NOAA’s U.S. Drought Monitor (drought.gov/south-carolina). There was a slight chance of showers Saturday night-Sunday morning, and weather conditions should remain dry most of next week.

With any prolonged stretch of dry weather, safety issues can arise.

“While we enjoy beautiful fall weather, the public should take precautions until a more normal rainfall pattern returns,” said Ken Aucoin, Richland County Emergency Planner and Chief Meteorologist. “In addition to the limited rainfall the last seven weeks, little, if any, rain is expected after Sunday which may last most of next week.”

As the dry weather pattern persists, residents are reminded to use extra caution when grilling or burning debris. Keep a water hose nearby to reduce the risk of spreading fire and be aware of whether or not a burn ban has been issued.

To help brown and wilted lawns, water grass thoroughly and allow time for the soil to dry before watering again. A light watering can waste water due to evaporation. “Also keep in mind gas lanterns, sparks from chainsaws and especially lit cigarettes can more easily cause fires during extended dry spells,” Aucoin said.

Richland County residents can receive a daily burn ban status by calling the County’s Open Burn Notification line at 803-576-3404.