The South Carolina Hurricanes and Tropical Storms application lets you search for and view information for over 300 years of hurricanes and tropical storms that have impacted South Carolina. You will find storm track data for all storms after 1851, when official records began. Information for storms prior to 1851 are found in the Table View of this application. In addition, information and comments specific to South Carolina are included, which make this a very rich dataset for the State of South Carolina and beyond.
An Executive Summary of Hurricanes and Tropical Storms in South Carolina document is available from the South Carolina State Climate Office. This publication includes statistics and an overview of hurricanes and tropical systems that have impacted South Carolina.
The track data in this application were compiled from HURDAT2, the National Hurricane Center Hurricane Data, 2nd Edition and modified by the South Carolina State Climate Office for use with this application. Additionally, the State Climate Office compiled information for storms prior to 1851. No storm track data are available for these storms, but information about their impacts to South Carolina can be found in the application.
Storm track lines were generated by 'connecting the dots' between HURDAT2 advisories, which are point data. The GIS web services used in this application, which includes HURDAT2 point data and the tracklines with storm summary data, are publicly available and can be viewed on ArcGIS Online.
HUDRAT2 include data points with latitude and longitude in decimal degrees to one decimal place of precision (ex. 34.1° N). Based on the latitudes of the US East Coast, this is represents 8 to 10 kilometers (5 to 6 miles) of precision. It is important to keep this in mind when viewing the South Carolina Hurricanes webpage because a 5 to 6 mile variance in the track could mean a landfall across state lines, or it could indicate a storm listed as a landfall, when in fact the system remained offshore.
A second component of accepting these tracks is accepting the sheer size of many tropical systems that affect the state of South Carolina. The average size of an eye of a hurricane is between 20 – 40 miles in diameter, and the average total hurricane size is about 300 miles wide.
Finally, it is recognized that the HURDAT2 dataset is incomplete and may still contains errors, especially for the earliest storms. More information can be found on the National Hurricane Center page for HURDAT2.
All dates and times in this application are presented in Eastern Standard Time (EST). The data were orginally formatted in Coordinate Universal Time (UTC), as is standard in hurricane climatology. They were converted to EST for this application to be consistent with the dates of impact to South Carolina. For UTC dates and times, see the original data in the ArcGIS Online service, or on the HURDAT2 website.
Storm details and summary information were obtained from HURDAT2 database and other sources compiled by the South Carolina State Climate Office. Please see the HURDAT2 documentation for more precise definitions of these data fields.
Official Storm Name, from HURDAT2
Year the storm occured, from HURDAT2
Maximum status and category that was reached at any time during the storm's duration. Storm status was obtained from HURDAT2. Category is shown if the storm reached hurricane status. The category was calculated by State Climate Office staff from the wind speeds given in HURDAT2 using the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.
Maximum sustained surface wind recorded during the storm's duration, from HURDAT2. Units are originally in knots in HURDAT2, but converted to miles per hour (mph) for the web application.
Mininum central pressure recorded during the storm's duration, from HURDAT2. Units are in millibars.
Landfall locations were obtained from a variety of sources compiled by State Climate Office staff. Some landfalls are recorded in HURDAT2. Others were taken from the the resources below, or by viewing the track and giving a best estimate of landfall location. All landfalls are approximate and may not represent official National Hurricane Center landfalls.
Dates when the storm is estimated to have impacted the State of South Carolina. State Climate Office staff compiled this information over the years from a variety of sources.
Storm status and category as the storm impacted the State of South Carolina. There are many variables that influence the impacts of a tropical storm or hurricane on any one place. A best estimate is made as to the storm's status and category during impacts recorded to the state, but it should be noted that impacts do not necessarily correlate directly with storm category. For example, Irma in 2017 was downgraded to a tropical storm before it moved 200 miles southwest of South Carolina, but it brought heavy rains, strong winds, a very large storm surge, and significantly impacted the State.
Comments are provided here that give a brief summary of the storm's impact to South Carolina. Comments have been recorded by State Climate Office staff over the years. Where storms did not already have a comment, State Climate Office staff wrote a comment using the resources below as reference.
Storm advisories are the points in HURDAT2, which are observations of a storm from the National Hurricane Center. The fields from HURDAT shown in this application are as follows.
Date and time of the observation, generally corresponding to the synoptic times of 0000, 0600, 1200, and 1800.
The status of a storm system is determined by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Options for this data field are below. See the NHC glossary for definitions of these status terms.
Storm advisories are shown on the map in the Storm Details view. Different icons are shown for all hurricane categories and tropical storm status. All other statuses are grouped together and use one symbol, a red capital letter 'L'.
Maximum sustained surface wind.
The number of tornadoes recorded in South Carolina as a result of the tropical storm or hurricane. This information was compiled by the State Climate Office staff.
Information in this application was compiled by the South Carolina State Climate Office from many sources, including:
Contact the South Carolina State Climate Office:
SC Department of Natural Resources
Land, Water, and Conservation Division
State Climate Office
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
We welcome any feedback regarding this application, from the data within to the usability of the interface. Email us!