. - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF/AP) - Thirty-five of South Carolina's 46 Counties have been designated primary natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of persistent drought and heat this summer.
Among those counties are Horry, Florence, Georgetown, Darlington, Marion, Marlboro, Williamsburg, and Dillon.
Farmers in all 35 counties are eligible for low-interest loans to help offset losses that might not be covered by crop insurance. Farmers in ten counties next to the disaster areas also qualify for federal assistance.
While there have been rounds of storms through the summer months across the Pee Dee, the storms have been spotty and not produced widespread rain. For the year, Florence is running a rainfall deficit of nearly 4 inches.
Moderate drought conditions extend into the western and northern areas of Horry County.
Areas along the Grand Strand have avoided the drought situation this summer thanks to heavy thunderstorms at times. In fact, some areas of coastal Horry County picked up as much as eight inches of rain during the last week of August.
The Associated Press contributed to this article. Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.