After the past several weeks, South Carolina citizens may begin to believe that the entire state is becoming a tropical rain forest.
Record rainfall has been reported in many regions of the state, including those most affected by drought the past several years in the Upstate. State Climatologist Hope Mizzell has been scanning the record books.
“In Walhalla, it’s actually the wettest summer. Form June 1 to present (June 16) in Walhalla they’ve received in that time period 21.4 inches of rain. That is three times more than normal.”
She says such summers tend to be part of a cycle. “In 1973 we had a very wet summer, a very wet year. 1964 statewide is our wettest year on record. It is part of our climatological cycle to have these unfortunate two sides of these extremes.”
Mizzell says other areas of the state have experienced record rainfall, including the Pee Dee. “At the Florence Regional Airport, they have also recorded their wettest summer on record also. For many sites around the state, it is either their wettest summer or somewhere in the top 5 or 6 wettest summers on record.”
Columbia is in the midst of its 6th-wettest summer on record. However, Mizzell says the capital city has still managed to set another record associated with the frequent downpours. “Actually, the record as far as the number of days of rain… we’ve had 28 consecutive days of rain in the Columbia metropolitan area and that is a new record.”
Mizzell says many South Carolina lakes, streams, and rivers are above normal. But, while the state is no longer in a drought, she is concerned the rain has come too fast to make a complete recovery.
Mizzell says dry periods and periods of heavy rainfall are features of the state’s long-term weather pattern.