South Carolina 2014 Weather in Review
South Carolina State Climatology Office
South Carolina Department Natural Resources
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
After a wet start to the New Year a strong cold front arrived on January 2. Johnston’s high temperature of 53 degrees plummeted to a January 3 morning low of 23 degrees. Caesars Head reported a single –digit reading of 9 degrees. Northwest winds gusted to 41 mph at McEntire ANG AP. Winds reached 49 mph at Ft. Johnson causing “blow-out” tides. The January 5 high temperature at Chester and Union only made it to 35 degrees. More arctic cold swept into the state on January 6. Caesars Head recorded a numbing -5 degrees on January 7. It was the coldest “statewide” day since December 23, 1989. On January 10, Catawba received rains totaling 2.87 inches. Thunderstorms on January 11 produced winds gusting to 55 mph at Ft. Sumter. Jamestown noted a mild 69 degrees on January 13. Storms ahead of a cold front on January 21 dropped one-inch hail on Sullivan’s Island and caused 48 mph winds at nearby Ft. Johnson. Snow flurries were observed at Caesars Head on January 22. Conway AP reported a noon time temperature of just 32 degrees. On Friday morning, January 24, the Greenville-Spartanburg AP noted a minimum temperature of 10 degrees. Freezing rain, sleet and snow affected most of the state beginning on January 28. Sandy Run and Bennettsville measured 4 inches of snow. Light snow was observed as far south as Hilton Head. At noon on Thursday, January 30, it was 32 degrees in Beaufort. January ended with a rainfall range of 5.09 inches at Laurens to 1.43 inches at Orangeburg.
On February 2, Charleston’s 73 degrees marked their warmest day since January 10. Hardeeville warmed to 79 degrees on February 3. On February 5, Florence Regional AP noted 21 hours of fog and 12 hours when the air temperature held steady at 41 degrees. More wintry weather returned on February 7 with snow flurries in the mountains and sleet falling over the southern Midlands. Accumulating snow fell on Tuesday, February 11, with 3-inch totals measured at Hartsville, Lake View and Dillon. A day later, heavy snows of 10 inches fell at Clover and 6-inch amounts blanketed Antreville and Winnsboro. Freezing rain caused property damage and interruptions to electrical service from Aiken County eastward into Sumter County. Early spring-like temperatures moved into the state on February 20. Dillon and Columbia Metro AP warmed to 84 degrees. Daffodils were observed flowering on February 25 within the Midlands and south. February 27 brought a freezing 32 degrees to Summerville and Beaufort. February ended with a rainfall range of 6.19 inches at Cades to 2.03 inches at Jamestown.
A boundary of freezing air raced through the state on March 4. The Mullins high temperature of 69 degrees on the March 3 fell 47 degrees on the 4th. Charleston’s high temperature of just 40 degrees was their coldest March afternoon in 25 years. Heavy rains developed on March 6. Multiday totals ending Friday, March 7 included 3.13 inches at Clinton, 2.75 inches at Greenwood and 2.69 inches at Darlington. Charleston warmed to 79 degrees on March 9. Seasonal warming on March 11 sent the mercury to 82 degrees at Walhalla, Florence and Conway. Cold, dry air visited the state on Thursday, March 13. The temperature at Rock Hill fell 45 degrees. Generous rains fell on March 16 leaving 1.78 inches at Jocassee and Allendale. The official start of spring occurred on Thursday, March 20 with a mild 74 degrees shared at Columbia, Orangeburg and Georgetown. Barnwell warmed to 81 degrees on March 22. Out of season snow fell on March 24 with 2 inches measured at Caesars Head. Hard freezes were noted on March 26. Greenwood reported 22 degrees and it was 26 degrees in Allendale. Wet weather followed the cold on March 38 with Charleston City receiving 2.65 inches of rain in twenty-four hours. Myrtle Beach measured a two-day total, ending on the morning of March 30, of 3.85 inches. March ended with a rainfall range of 8.43 inches at Brookgreen Gardens to 2.99 inches at Long Creek.
Warmer conditions started the month of April. Florence and Kingstree reached 86 degrees making it their warmest day since October 6, 2013. The USC Campus in Columbia’s thermometer recorded 91 degrees on April 2. Gusting southwest winds on Friday, April 4, filled the air with the haze of tree pollen spores. The four-day stretch of warming rushed the flowering of many plants. Heavy rains fell on April 7 with totals of 2.95 inches at Long Creek, and 2.74 inches at Jocassee Dam. Multi-day totals measured on Tuesday, April 8 included 3.52 inches at Liberty and 3.37 inches at Walhalla. Freezing temperatures of 32 degrees on April 16 were observed at McComick, Newberry and Little Mountain. Unwelcomed frost was seen on April 17 in Fairfield and Sumter counties. A broad circulation of sub-tropical rains moved into the Lowcountry on April 18. Two separate CoCoRaHS volunteer observers measured 3.79 and 3.72 inches of rain at Mt. Pleasant. McClellanville reported a two-day total of 3.90 inches. On April 22, Hartsville and Kingstree warmed to 86 degrees. Bamberg and Dillon reached 88 degrees on April 27. The Florence high temperature on April 29 of 89 degrees was their warmest day since October 5, 2013. Stormy weather affected the west central counties on April 30 with high winds. A CoCoRaHS volunteer in Bluffton measured a 24-hour rainfall of 2.99 inches. April ended with a rainfall range of 6.90 inches at Jocassee 8WNW and Ft Mill to 2.53 inches at N Myrtle Beach.
Cooler air moved the temperature on May 2 to 50 degrees in Johnston. Walterboro’s May 4 sunrise temperature of 51 degrees climbed to an afternoon maximum of 86 degrees. Drying west winds over the Sandhill Research and Education Center’s open water pan evaporated a season high 0.39 inches of water in twenty-four hours. On May 5, Charleston AP set a “date record” high temperature of 95 degrees. Instruments at the USC Campus in Columbia recorded 98 degrees on May 8. Thunderstorms on May 14 left 3.76 inches at Jocassee Dam and 2.79 inches at Table Rock. Drenching rains expanded southward on Thursday, May 15, into central and eastern South Carolina. A U.S. Forest Service recording rain gage in Marion measured a 24-hour amount of 7.65 inches. Richland County Emergency Services measured 6.93 inches of rain near Eastover. National Weather Service observers measured 6.00 inches at Lake City and 5.50 inches at Mullins. Colder clearing weather followed the heavy rains. On May 17, Jocassee 8WNW (Walhalla Fish Hatchery) recorded 32 degrees and the lowest temperature in the state for so late in the season since May 23, 2002. Hot weather arrived on May 22 for Kingstree and Georgetown with 95 degrees. Barnwell and Beaufort reached 98 degrees on May 23. Storms erupted late in the day on May 23 across the Upstate. Tennis ball-sized hailstones fell over the Spartanburg County towns of Moore and Reidville. Three-inch-diameter hail fell over Buffalo and Union and baseball-sized hail pummeled the Lake Carolina community in Richland County. Johnston reached a hot 97 degrees on May 28. Convective rains on May 29 and May 30 left 4.11 inches at Crabtree Swamp near Conway. May ended with a rainfall range of 8.52 inches at Marion to 1.49 inches at Charleston AP.
Cedar Creek and Pelion cooled to 50 degrees on June 2. The mercury reversed itself on June 5 with 96 degrees observed in Florence, Jamestown and Columbia. On the same hot day, thunderstorms at the Savannah River Site produced winds of 66 mph. Afternoon heating on June 6 helped form hail- producing storms over Walhalla and a short-duration tornado that passed southeast of Bamberg. Hot and humid weather on Monday, June 9, caused brief, one-hour storms over Orangeburg and 2.05 inches of rain. Golf ball-sized hail fell on Pickens County on June 11 with 2.09 inches of rain. Jamestown noted a June10 maximum temperature of 99 degrees. Springmaid Pier instruments reported a surf water temperature on June 16 of 84.9 degrees. One inch of rain fell in 37 minutes at Rock Hill AP on June 18. The state’s first 2014 100-degree observation was made on June 19 at the USC Campus in Columbia. The poor distribution of rain was especially evident at a dry Calhoun Falls and their June three-week total of just 0.09 inches. Widely scattered thundershowers brought Hardeeville 2.95 inches of rain on June 23. More heavy rains fell on June 27 for Crabtree Swamp (3.69 inches) and McColl (3.10 inches). Brisk northeast winds on June 29 kept the afternoon temperature at Folly Beach to just 81 degrees. June ended with a rainfall range of 8.49 inches at Caesars Head to 0.98 inches at Florence.
The Atlantic tropical season began affecting South Carolina on July 3 with the outer rain bands from Hurricane Arthur located approximately 160 miles south of Myrtle Beach. The western edge of the circulation produced 37-mph winds at Folly Beach and 42-mph winds at Myrtle Beach while passing well offshore. Parts of Horry County received two-inch rains. Drying air replaced the exiting feature for the July 4 holiday. Late afternoon thunderstorms over Johns Island and Folly Beach produced six-inch rains on Sunday, July 6. Florence Regional AP recorded a hot 99 degrees on July 8. The low temperature at N Myrtle Beach on July 9 only cooled to 80 degrees. Seabreeze-supported thunderstorms on July 9 brought Mullins 3.64 inches of rain and 3.32 inches to nearby Marion. Gallivant’s Ferry was soaked with 4.57 inches for the 24-hours ending at 7:00 a.m. on July 11. More heavy rains fell on July 15 at Catawba (4.43 inches) and Pinopolis Dam (3.73 inches). Unusually cool temperatures moved into the state on July 17. Pelion reported 62 degrees and Walterboro noted 65 degrees. July’s first 17 days of abundant rainfall for the coastal zones was quite the opposite for Anderson with just 0.04 inches within the same period. The July 19 Pickens high temperature of just 66 degrees was that location’s second “lowest maximum” July temperature of record. Flooding rains fell on Sunday, July 20, near Ft Jackson. A recording rain gage at Forest Drive and I-77 indicated an intensity of 1.53 inches in 15 minutes, part of a one hour total of 3.39 inches. Downpours over Lake Wylie on July 21 produced rainfall amounts exceeding six inches. The saturated atmosphere unloaded over Orangeburg at around 5:00 p.m. A USGS rain gauge near the N Fork Edisto River measured 3.73 inches in one hour and a calendar day total of 8.82 inches. Much of Orangeburg County became a shallow lake. A cloudburst over Hilton Head Island left 5.58 inches of rain on July 25. Campers and early morning visitors to Table Rock State Park experienced a cool 64 degrees on Saturday, July 26. Saluda and Winnsboro reported 98 degrees on Monday, July 28, ahead of storms and falling temperatures. Large hail fell over Marion and Horry counties. The Cedar Creek Monday afternoon temperature of 97 degrees dropped to 62 degrees on Tuesday morning. Light jackets were needed at daybreak on July 30 for Caesars Head at 53 degrees. More heavy rain fell on July’s last day. A downpour of 6.66 inches was recorded at the USGS Reedy River gauge at I-85 and 5.80 inches was measured at Greenville. July ended with a rainfall range of 13.93 inches at Edisto Middleton Gardens to 1.10 inches at Saluda.
On August 2, a cloudy day in Bishopville only allowed for a maximum of 71 degrees which was a full 20 degrees below the date’s average. Sunny, hot weather returned on August 6 with 96 degrees being reported at Saluda and Beaufort. Storms on Friday afternoon, August 8, produced 60-mph winds and 0.76 inches of rain in seven minutes at Columbia’s Hamilton-Owens AP. Excessive rains on August 9 caused deadly flash flooding and extensive damage to personal property and roadways for Greenville County. Multiple CoCoRaHS volunteer observers measured six-inch rains. Travelers Rest measured 4.50 inches and Williamston measured 4.05 inches. Storm cells over Kingstree produced 4.74 inches of rain. Ft. Mill missed the wet weather coverage with only 0.12 inches for the seven-day period. Humid conditions, typical of August, were observed during the second week. McCormick reached 97 degrees on August 12. Thundershowers continued to concentrate along the coast. Three of the Georgetown County CoCoRaHS volunteer observers reported at least 12 inches of rain during the first two weeks of August. A stretch of hot weather set up on August 20 and ran through August 23. Pinopolis reported 102 degrees on August 22. Barnwell baked at 101 degrees on August 23 while at the same time a humid 99 degrees was observed at Sullivan’s Island. The Charleston Harbor water temperature simmered at 87.8 degrees. The heat was temporarily broken on August 25 with the arrival of a parcel of cooler continental air. Chesterfield and Hemingway noted a morning low temperature of 61 degrees. The Tuesday, August 26 afternoon temperature at Clinton, Dillon and Charleston City was a comfortable 86 degrees. Pelion cooled to an “early October-like” 55 degrees on August 28. The break was short lived as middle 90-degree heat ended the month. Columbia Metro AP topped out at 99 degrees on August 31. August ended with a rainfall range of 10.10 inches at McClellanville to 1.82 inches at Cheraw.
Although the climatological summer moved into fall on Monday, September 1, the heat held on. Johnston sweltered under a shade temperature of 100 degrees. Storms interrupted a Tuesday, 96 degrees at Columbia’s Hamilton-Owens AP with a sharp temperature fall of 17 degrees in one hour. On September 5, Sullivan’s Island residents awoke to a humid 83 degrees. Thundershowers expanded from the beaches inland to much of north central South Carolina. Drenching rains on Sunday, September 7, left 3.99 inches at McBee, 3.86 inches at Hartsville and 3.62 inches at Chesterfield. Running totals into September 8 reached 5.65 inches in Hartsville and 5.57 inches at Florence. Temperatures soared on Thursday, September 11, to 96 degrees at Barnwell and to 95 degrees at Little Mountain on September 12. Lightening-filled storms on September 13 produced 1.74 inches of rain in 30 minutes at the Newberry USGS gauge. A dry Bamberg’s prior 30-day rainfall of only 0.79 inches changed for the better with a soaking of 2.75 inches. Downpours on September 19 brought flash flooding to Lancaster County. The Lancaster CoCoRaHS volunteer measured 5.76 inches. The same complex moved into Richland County leaving 1.59 inches in 20 minutes at the Columbia Hamilton-Owens AP. More flash flooding occurred on September 22 at the USGS gauge on Turkey Creek near Huger. The skies opened up with 4.39 inches of rain falling in just 90 minutes. Autumn officially began on September 23 with temperatures more like late November. Chester reported a high temperature of only 61 degrees. Caesars Head cooled to 47 degrees on the morning of September 24. At 2:00 p.m. on September’s last day, Greenville, Darlington and N Myrtle Beach each shared sunny skies and 81 degrees. The 18 days of measurable rain at Charleston AP tied their September record set in 1979. September ended with a rainfall range of 11.32 inches at Pinopolis Dam to 1.90 inches at Travelers Rest.
Union’s October start at 56 degrees warmed under an all day sun to 88 degrees. Modified Canadian air made an appearance on October 4. Saluda only made it to 68 degrees. On October 5, Jocassee 8WNW (Walhalla Fish Hatchery) observed the season’s coldest morning at 27 degrees. Long Creek reported a sub-freezing 31 degrees. Temperatures slowly warmed though the week and on October 11, Hartsville, Kingstree and Beaufort all reached 90 degrees. Clemson AP measured 2.06 inches of rain on October 12. While the Foothills and higher elevations observed a rainy week, Mullins, Conway, Clarks Hill, Manning and Walterboro reported no rain. Warming, moist air entered the state on October 13. Localized heavy rains fell at Pawley’s Island (2.56 inches) and at Hemingway (1.98 inches). Heavy rains on October 14 parked over the Upstate. Caesars Head measured a 24-hour total of 3.96 inches and 3.58 inches fell at Jocassee Dam. For the 24-hours ending at 7:00 a.m. on October 15, Jocassee 8WNW received 5.52 inches of rain. Clearing skies followed the passage of a cold front during the day on October 15. The Conway AP chilled to 46 degrees on the morning of October 17. With the exception of a lone thundershower on October 23 over Hilton Head (1.91 inches), dry, seasonal weather was observed during the fourth week of October. On Sunday, October 26, Walhalla and N Myrtle Beach both warmed to 84 degrees. The temperature kept climbing and reached 90 degrees at Hardeeville on October 27. On October 30, Caesars Head Park personnel described the high elevation fall colors as peaking below 3,000 feet. October ended with a rainfall range of 9.60 inches at Jocassee 8WNW to 0.53 inches at Santuck and Aiken.
Only a few hours into November a record-breaking winter weather event unfolded. At 4:00 a.m., snow was falling at Greenville. The 7:19 a.m. observation of snow (trace) at Columbia Metro AP made it the earliest observation of record. Accumulating 4-inch snows fell from Batesburg through Gilbert into Red Bank. The 3-inch official measurement for the event at Pelion made it South Carolina’s earliest known measurable snow in recordkeeping. Snowflakes were seen at Folly Beach. Low temperatures on November 3 fell to their lowest of the season. Jocassee 8WNW was the state’s coldest at 22 degrees. Allendale and Walterboro reported 29 degrees. The temperature quickly rebounded on Thursday, November 6, to 80 degrees at Charleston and Beaufort. Outside of some light showers on November 13 most of the state was into their second week of no rain. Pickens had not measured any rain since October 15. Freezing air moved over the state on Friday, November 14. On Saturday morning Caesars Head recorded a minimum of 18 degrees. Edisto Island noted their first freeze of the season with 32 degrees. On November 17, Pickens ended their 31-day streak of no rain with 1.55 inches. Record setting, arctic regions cold entered the state on November 18. The remote valley location of Jocassee 8WNW, located along the East Fork Chattooga River in Oconee County, reported a minimum temperature of 10 degrees on the morning of November 19. The minimum values of 20 degrees at Florence and Columbia, and the 22 degrees at N Myrtle Beach were not only date records but the “coldest known for so early.” Charleston’s date record 23 degrees was their coldest November morning in 44 years. SCDNR Law Enforcement observed thin shoreline icing on small ponds in Aiken and Richland counties. Forcing from an energetic Gulf state’s feature brought heavy rains on Sunday, November 23. Long Creek measured a 24-hour amount of 4.85 inches. 2.90 inches fell at Springfield and 2.80 inches soaked Summerville. During the darkness of Monday morning, November 24, the Charleston Harbor was temporarily closed due to dense fog and zero visibility. Walterboro was the state’s warmest location at 81 degrees. Three- day rains ending on November 26 at Summerville added up to 5.70 inches. Thanksgiving Thursday was observed under sunny, cool and breezy conditions. Newberry, Florence and Georgetown all reported an afternoon high temperature of 55 degrees. November ended with a rainfall range of 6.71 inches at Fort Mill to 2.85 inches at Wateree Dam.
Despite the date, Walterboro warmed to 81 degrees on December 1 and there were no reports of freezing in South Carolina on the morning of December 2. Seasonal cold returned on December 9 with snow flurries reported from Caesars Head into Fountain Inn. On December 12, Cedar Creek recorded 18 degrees. During the first two weeks of a dry December, Little Mountain, Columbia, Bamberg and Walterboro each had received less than one-tenth of an inch of rain. Milder conditions on December 16 allowed Jamestown to reach 74 degrees. The last full day of autumn 2014 was cold and cloudy. Chester’s high temperature of just 44 degrees made it feel more like mid winter. A stretch of rainy weather began early on December 22. Allendale was soaked with 1.10 inches. A cloudy Aiken Municipal Airport remained at a temperature of 43 degrees for 17 consecutive hours. Heavy rains fell during the early morning darkness on December 24. Johnston measured a twenty-four-hour amount of 3.25 inches and a four-day total of 4.51 inches. Clearing, cooler weather arrived for Christmas day Thursday. Afternoon temperatures reached 56 degrees in Greenville, 59 degrees in Cheraw and 62 degrees in Walterboro. Slow warming followed the holiday and on Sunday, December 28, the Charleston AP recorded 78 degrees and its highest December 28 temperature in 43 years. Pre-dawn rains on December 29 brought 2.05 inches to Pelion, 1.32 inches to Saluda and 1.25 inches to Chester. Light rain, drizzle or mist reports concluded during the late afternoon hours on December 30. 2014’s last sunrise started with a frost and freeze for much of central and northern South Carolina. It was 27 degrees at Sumter, 28 degrees at the Rock Hill AP, 29 degrees at Sandhill , 30 degrees at Florence and 31 degrees in Union. December ended with a rainfall range of 5.76 inches at Johnston to 3.01 inches at Travelers Rest.