South Carolina 2013 Weather in Review
South Carolina State Climatology Office
South Carolina Department Natural Resources
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
2013 began wet and mild. Allendale reached 71 degrees on New Year's Day and Calhoun Falls measured 0.98 inches of rain. After a stretch of cloudy days, seasonal cold returned on January 4. On the morning of January 5, Ninety Nine Islands reported a sunrise temperature of 20 degrees. "Short-sleeves" weather was observed a week later on January 12. Date record high temperatures were set at Columbia Metro (82 degrees), Charleston (81 degrees), Florence (81 degrees) and Greenville-Spartanburg (73 degrees). Rains developed for much of the Upstate on January 14 and spread eastward through January 17.Table Rock received a multi-day rainfall total of 6.71 inches. Arctic cold arrived again on January 25 with Caesars Head recording 16 degrees. The afternoon high temperature at Rock Hill AP only made it to 26 degrees. Table Rock observed the state's first measurable snowfall for the season with one tenth of an inch. On January 30, warm air moved over the state. The Columbia Metro AP set a date record temperature of 82 degrees. A few storm cells formed in the warm moist air producing 2.34 inches of rain at Long Creek. Charleston reported south winds gusting to 49 mph. January ended with Long Creek receiving 11.36 inches of rain while Charleston reported their driest January of record with just 0.35 inches.
A dusting of snow was reported at Caesars Head on February 1 and the thermometer at Chesnee indicated 15 degrees on the morning of February 2. Dry, sunny conditions followed the cold for several days. On Wednesday, February 6, the Clemson AP reported a relative humidity value of just 14 percent. Rains moved into the state on Thursday, February 7, with both Aiken and Barnwell getting soaked with 2.70 inches. A period of continuing rain began on February 11. Charleston reported "heavy rain" at least once during a three-day observation. Twenty-four-hour rains on February 12 left 3.88 inches at Hardeeville. Cold air forcing on Saturday, February 16 set the stage for a band of accumulating snow across the Upstate, north Midlands and Pee Dee. The Edgemoor community measured 5 inches of the icy powder. The Charleston AP reported a late evening light snow for twelve minutes. Winter cold remained over the state on Monday, February 18, with Hunts Bridge chilling to 16 degrees. On Saturday, February 23, 2.44 inches of rain fell at Charleston AP. More rain fell over much of the state on February 25, and 26. Jocassee measured a 24-hour total of 2.25 inches. The Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station was soaked with 3.52 inches over 48 hours. Unlike January's record dry month, the Charleston AP received a February record rainfall total of 10.47 inches.
Snow showers were observed on March 2 with two-inch accumulations around Rock Hill and one-inch amounts within Spartanburg County. Although the "climatological spring" was into its third day, Sunday, March 3, was as cold as a mid-winter day. Chesnee started at 20 degrees. Beaufort's high of just 45 degrees was nearly twenty degrees below the long term average. Snow flurries were observed at Anderson on March 6 and Fort Sumter reported west winds gusting to 50 mph. Milder air pushed the temperature at Pelion to 68 degrees on March 13 before a rapid fall of 41 degrees to 27 degrees on the morning of March 14. Long-awaited warming visited on March 16. Walhalla, Sandhill and Beaufort all reached 80 degrees. The season's first round of severe weather came with one-inch hailstones falling on March 18 over parts of Hampton and Beaufort counties. The first day of astronomical spring came on Wednesday, March 20, but there was no anticipated warming. Spartanburg's Friday morning, March 22 temperature was a hard freeze of 22 degrees. A circulation of heavy rains moved into the Lowcountry on March 24 with thunderstorms. Summerville received one of the heaviest rain amounts with 3.70 inches. Winds at James Island gusted to 53 mph. Caesars Head reported another day of snow flurries on March 25. On March 28, Hunts Bridge, Ninety Nine Islands and Cedar Creek reported a low temperature of 22 degrees. At month's end, it was Columbia's tenth coldest average March temperature of record. Thirty-one day rainfalls amounts ranged from 5.47 inches at Allendale to 1.76 inches at McColl.
The Charleston AP warmed to 79 degrees on April 1. This was short lived as a late intrusion of leftover winter air charged into the state on April 4. Caesars Head reported tree icing and sleet. The 2:00 p.m. temperature of 37 degrees at Anderson and Greenville was their coldest known April afternoon temperature observation on record. Springmaid Pier recorded northeast winds gusting to 48 mph. McClellanville measured the heaviest rainfall during the change with a 24-hour total of 1.98 inches. The warmest weather of the year overspread the state on April 9. The Hartsville AP reported an afternoon high temperature of 88 degrees. The stretch of sunny, warm conditions accelerated spring flowering. Heavy rains on April 17 brought Walhalla 3.07 inches. Severe thunderstorms on Friday, April 20 spun the anemometer at Shaw AFB to 82 mph. Twenty counties reported wind damage. On Thursday, April 25, Beaufort, Charleston, Jamestown and Barnwell warmed to 84 degrees. Isolated thunderstorms on April 27 and overnight left 2.03 inches of rain at the Rock Hill AP. Steady rains fell on April 29 giving the CoCoRaHS volunteer at Ridgeway a 24-hour total of 4.15 inches. Hailstones of 1.75 inches in diameter fell near Bluffton during the late afternoon hours and a brief, weak tornado passed near Ridgeway. South Carolina's mountains observed a wet April with Caesars Head reporting a 30-day total of 9.47 inches while the southern Piedmont's Clinton only received 2.62 inches.
May started with high pressure ridging south along the Eastern Seaboard. On May 3, onshore winds gusted to 48 mph at the Isle of Palms and 45 mph at Folly Beach. Cloudy skies and periods of rain prevented any seasonal warming. Jocassee reported a 24-hour rainfall of 5.32 inches on Tuesday morning, May 6. Ninety-degree temperatures were noted at Darlington, Hartsville and Kingstree on May 10. Wednesday's May 15 desert-type air mass brought the state its highest temperatures since September 7, 2012. Bennettsville recorded 93 degrees. The Sandhill Experiment Station in northeast Richland County measured a 24-hour open pan evaporation water loss of 0.70 inches. Slow-moving thunderstorms on Sunday, May 19, brought McEntire ANG AP 3.70 inches of rain. A towering thunderstorm on Wednesday, May 22, produced one-inch diameter hail that covered the ground near Mountain Rest and caused "hail fog". Dry air settled into the state on May 24 bringing the 5:00 p.m. relative humidity value at Shaw AFB to just 12 percent. On Saturday morning, May 25, the Florence AP set a "date record" low temperature of 44 degrees. Stable weather ended the month of May 2013 with Clarks Hill recording 93 degrees. Long Creek's May rainfall total of 7.15 inches was the greatest while Johnston only received 1.79 inches.
Sub-tropical conditions arrived on Saturday, June 1, as surface winds shifted more to the south. Orangeburg and Florence reached a humid 90 degrees. Thunderstorms at Anderson AP on June 2 unloaded 2.78 inches of rain. Flooding rains into June 3 exceeded 6 inches over portions of Edgefield and Aiken counties. A CoCoRaHS volunteer near Trenton measured 7.75 inches. Storms on Tuesday, June 4, included an EF1 tornado southeast of Bowman. More heavy rain fell on Wednesday June 5. Another CoCoRaHS volunteer near Meggett reported a 24-hour rain total of 5.94 inches. Farm operations all over Hampton County were stopped due to standing water in fields. The circulation around Tropical Storm Andrea entered the state on Friday, June 7, bringing wind and rain to the coastal plain. Winds gusted to 51 mph at Springmaid Pier. North Myrtle Beach measured 3.24 inches of rain on Friday. Roadside ditches along the Grandstrand were described as "overflowing." The moist atmosphere supported more storms on Sunday, June 9, with a reliable report of 5.35 inches in North that resulted in citywide flash flooding. The North Fork of the Edisto River climbed to its highest stage in over 10 years. Daily convective thunderstorms became more frequent in the middle of June as did the sweltering heat. On June 13, Bamberg's afternoon high temperature rose to 98 degrees. The early-afternoon formation of thundershowers on June 19 from Aiken to near Georgetown left a Mt. Pleasant (CoCoRaHS) rainfall of 4.11 inches with street flooding observed on the Charleston peninsula. The first day of summer arrived on June21 but it felt more like a "mid-April" morning. Walterboro and North Myrtle Beach cooled to 64 degrees. Localized downpours were common during the last week of June 2013. A "cloudburst" near Forest Acres produced 1.34 inches of rain during a 15 minute interval. The Marlboro County Jetport (KBBP) noted a thunderstorm-caused forty-minute temperature fall of 17 degrees between 1:55 p.m. (90 degrees) and 2:35 p.m. (73 degrees). On June 26, tennis ball-sized hail (2.5-inch diameter) was observed two miles southeast of the Shadowmoss community in Charleston County. Two calendar-day rains at North Myrtle Beach AP on June 29 and 30, filled the gage with 5.13 inches. The statewide June 2013 rainfall range included 13.77 inches at Sullivan's Island (their wettest June since 1962) and 3.42 inches at Newberry.
Tropical downpours on the first day of July brought 6.25 inches to Kingstree and 5.20 inches of rain to Socastee. More heavy rains on Wednesday, July 3, fell at Gaffney (2.79 inches) and at Keowee Dam (2.79 inches).By July standards, the Fourth of July holiday was just "warm" with the only 90-degree observation recorded at Orangeburg. Keowee Dam received another 3.57 inches of rain for the twenty-four hours ending at 7:00 a.m. on July 5. During the first seven days of July, Table Rock measured 9.84 inches of rain. Excessive and daily rains turned into flooding for twenty of the state's counties during the second week of July. For only the second time since its completion in 1962, Lake Hartwell Dam operations opened all 12 spillway gates on July 9 to lower a flood stage that had reached 664.90 feet. On Tuesday, July 9, the Greenville-Spartanburg AP recorded a downpour of 2.44 inches of rain in 44 minutes. Allendale measured a 24-hour rainfall from Tuesday, July 9, into Wednesday morning, July 10, of 6.37 inches. The Anderson AP reported measurable rain every day from July 1-14. On July 17, the Hartsville AP recorded 99 degrees. Afternoon storms produced a 69 mph wind at the Savannah River Site complex and 1.06 inches of rain in 20 minutes at the USC campus in Columbia. Torrential rains fell over Florence County on Saturday evening, July 27. Between 8:53 p.m. and 9:53 p.m., the Florence Regional AP measured 2.00 inches of a 4.10-inch total. Unseasonable cooling was observed on the morning of July 29 with Caesars Head reporting 59 degrees. The Florence Regional AP July 2013 rain total of 14.91 inches set a July record. July ended with a rainfall range of 20.56 inches at Table Rock to 3.71 inches at the Charleston City Waterfront Park.
On August 4, Sullivan's Island reported a sultry shade temperature of 95 degrees. Flooding rains on August 6 and 7 totaled 6.23 inches at Clemson and caused damage to roadways and bridges. The 96-degree afternoon maximum temperature at Florence, Columbia Metro, Charleston and Beaufort on Sunday August 11 was each locations highest value of the summer. On Wednesday, August 14, a CoCoRaHS volunteer on Mt. Pleasant measured 6.21 inches of rain and just across the harbor the Charleston peninsula reported citywide street flooding. Unusual cold temperatures moved south into the state on August 15. Bamberg's high of only 66 degrees was their "lowest maximum" ever observed for any August day. For Sandhill, the 65-degree high temperature on Friday, August 16 was the "lowest maximum" ever observed for August in 56 years of recordkeeping. Drenching rains at the Orangeburg airport (2.51 inches in 90 minutes on Tuesday, August 20) gave them a 48-hour total of 6.07 inches. The season opener college football game between the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina on Thursday evening, August 29 was interrupted and delayed for nearly two hours when a 9:00 p.m. localized thunderstorm produced rainfall rates of 0.71 inches in 21 minutes, northeast winds gusting to 35 mph and frequent cloud to ground lightning at nearby Columbia Hamilton-Owens airport. August 2013 rainfall totals ranged from Table Rock's 17.81 inches to Ninety-Nine Islands 0.57 inches. Statewide rainfall totals for the climatological summer (June-August) indicated 2013 as South Carolina's wettest summer in 119 years of record keeping.
Scattered afternoon thunderstorms during the first week of September were focused over the coastal plain. The Columbia Metro AP continued a "no measurable rain" streak of 18 consecutive days into September 8. Just released "SC State Averaged Precipitation" for the June through August 2013 rainfall period, as compiled by the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC, indicated the amount to be the "wettest of record" (26.26 inches) and besting the 1964 total of 24.79 inches. The indecision of seasons was evident in that on September 12, Pinopolis warmed to 98 degrees and on September 14 Long Creek cooled to 50 degrees. The Columbia Metro AP consecutive days' absence of measurable rain ended Sunday, September 15 with a run of 24 days. On the last official day of summer, a cold front entered the state from the northwest causing heavy rains. Gaffney received 3.75 inches and 3.07 inches fell at Ninety Nine Islands. The highest official temperature reported on the first full day of autumn was 86 degrees at Holly Hill. The September 28, Saturday morning, 59-degree minimum temperature at Edisto Beach State Park was their coolest value since May 28. The state's September 2013 rainfall ranged from 5.15 inches at Chesnee to just 1.09 inches at Winnsboro.
Hot weather made a last stand on October 4 with several central South Carolina observations sites reporting 90 degrees or higher. Pinopolis took the state's highest temperature reading with 93 degrees. Tropical, terrain-enhanced rains caused flash flooding on October 7 for Greenville and Spartanburg counties. A CoCoRaHS volunteer at Berry's Pond measured 4.85 inches. Darlington and the Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station warmed to 88 degrees on the same afternoon. Lower temperatures were drawn into the state over the following days. Table Rock and Hunts Bridge cooled to 44 degrees on Thursday morning, October 10. The trend of alternating cool to warm days continued into October 20 when the first observations of morning temperatures in the 30's were reported. On October 24, the season's first frost arrived for counties within the Midlands and westward into the mountains. Cedar Creek, Ninety Nine Islands and Spartanburg reported a hard freeze of 26 degrees. The Saturday, October 26 sunrise over western Horry County highlighted lawns covered in a white layer of frost. After having its first sub-freezing morning back on October 26 (30 degrees), the McEntire ANG Base recorded two consecutive days of "Indian Summer" warming with a pair of 81's on October 30 and 31. For the 31-day period, the state's greatest rainfall total was measured at Cheraw with 5.29 inches and the least amount of rainfall was reported at Greenwood with just 0.03 inches.
Welcome rainfall behind the balance of dry weather for October spread into the state on November 1. Rainfall amounts along and ahead of a frontal boundary included 1.40 inches at Clarks Hill, Sandhill and Lugoff. State Park personnel at Caesars Head described the leaf colors on November 6 as "peaking" from an elevation of 2000 feet and higher. More cold entered the state on the evening of November 8 sending early morning temperatures on November 9 to 27 degrees at Ninety Nine Islands, Spartanburg and Pelion. Pickens started Sunday morning, November 10 at 30 degrees before warming to a mild 75 degrees during the afternoon. The season's first winter precipitation event developed during the evening hours of Tuesday, November 12. Snow showers were observed from York County south through the Midlands and east into Horry County. This was the state's earliest observed and measurable snow since November 12, 1968. On Wednesday morning, November 13, Lancaster, Edgemoor and McBee had each received one-half inch of white powder that coated elevated surfaces. Arctic cold settled into the state for the morning of November 14 with Pelion recording 16 degrees. The 22 degrees at Florence Regional AP set a date-record minimum and was the coldest temperature for so early in November since 1967. The grip of cold eased on Saturday, November 16 with warming sunshine and 77 degrees for Orangeburg and Kingstree. The Columbia Metro AP set a date record high temperature on November 18 with 85 degrees. Temperatures dropped on Tuesday, November 19 by twenty degrees. A secondary surge of freezing temperatures came on Saturday, November 23. Lake City's 44-degree high temperature on Sunday was their coldest November afternoon since November 24, 2000. At 10:00 a.m. on Monday, November 25, runway instruments at the Darlington County Jetport indicated a "crest" of high pressure reading of 30.61 inches of mercury. Conditions changed rapidly during the overnight hours as over-running moisture, associated with a feature moving northeast from the Gulf of Mexico, brought a wintry mix and cold rains for Tuesday, November 26. As early as 3:15 a.m., Greenville reported freezing rain and sleet. Near sunrise, tree icing was observed at Cowpens. Straight-line winds, estimated at 65-75 mph, caused property damage near Cainhoy in Charleston County. Table Rock was soaked with a two-calendar-day rainfall of 4.53 inches. The Thanksgiving Thursday, November 28, morning temperature at Union bottomed at 18 degrees. November 2013 rainfall totals ranged from 6.89 inches at Table Rock to 1.97 inches at Barnwell.
Soaking rains fell on December 2 with 24-hour amounts of 1.91 inches at Johnston, 1.65 inches at Pelion and 1.16 inches at McEntire ANG Base. Warming surface winds pushed the temperature to 79 degrees at Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station on December 4 and to 83 degrees at Pinopolis on December 6. A cold front rolled into the state on December 7, dropping the Orangeburg AP 1:00 p.m. temperature of 70 degrees to 56 degrees in one hour. Darlington and Florence noted a 3:00 p.m. temperature on Sunday, December 8 of just 39 degrees. Several waves of cold air arrived during the second week of December. Long Creek recorded 16 degrees on the morning of December 13. Heavy rains moved though the central counties on December 14, leaving 3.40 inches at Kingstree. Seasonal weather moved into date record warmth on December 21and 22. On Saturday, December 21, the official start of winter, Florence reached 79 degrees, the Charleston AP reached 80 degrees and Columbia Metro AP reached 81 degrees. For Florence, the record 83 degree value on December 22, was that location's highest temperature so late in any December. A frontal boundary eased against the warm and moist air mass during the evening hours of December 22 with steady and heavy rains forming over the western Piedmont. On the morning of December 23, Calhoun Falls measured a 24-hour rainfall total of 5.25 inches. Cold air entered the state on Christmas Eve. The Wednesday holiday afternoon was the coldest in Columbia, Florence, Myrtle Beach and Charleston since 2004. An area of low pressure moved into the state late on December 28 bringing another round of heavy rain. The Jocassee Dam measured 2.85 inches. McCormick reported a 24-hour total of 2.73 inches and Edgefield measured 1.91 inches. Winds at Springmaid Pier gusted to 51 mph during a heavy rain shower. Early morning temperatures on December 30 adjusted back to the season with 31 degrees at Chesnee, 32 degrees at Rock Hill and 33 degrees at Union. Tuesday, the last day of 2013, dawned under overcast skies and freezing temperatures limited to the Upstate's mountain locations. Caesars Head noted a year ending high temperature of 40 degrees while a distant Hilton Head Island reached 55 degrees. Rainfall totals for the thirty-one days of December ranged from 9.87 inches at Calhoun Falls to 1.58 inches at North Myrtle Beach AP. The yearly rainfall totals at Walhalla (91.39") and at Long Creek (93.49") were the greatest amounts ever measured in their record keeping.