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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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October 8, 2018 - October 14, 2018


The week started with Hurricane Michael poised to make landfall along the Gulf of Mexico coast, and the potential track of the storm could bring strong winds, heavy rains and minor storm surge to South Carolina.

An upper ridge remained centered offshore of the Mid-Atlantic and in control of the weather pattern for the first part of the week. On Monday, October 8, the National Weather Service (NWS) station in Dillon reported a high temperature of 94 degrees, which broke the previous record that had been set back in 1941. The station in Lake City also broke a record of 90 degrees in 1962, with a maximum temperature of 93 degrees. The King Tides continued to impact the Charleston area at the beginning of the week. The Charleston Harbor tidal gauge observed an astronomical high tide value of 7.37 ft. mean lower low water (MLLW) around 8:00 p.m. on Monday, and values of 7.44 ft. MLLW on Tuesday morning and 7.26 ft. MLLW Tuesday evening. The high tidal level on the morning of October 9 caused saltwater flooding in low-lying areas near Market Street in downtown Charleston. On Tuesday evening, shower activity associated with a band of tropical moisture moved onshore in the Lowcountry as the high pressure began to move farther away from the region. The thunderstorms produced a 45 mph wind gust in Beaufort County, and strong winds downed trees near Scotia in Hampton County.

In the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael rapidly intensified from a tropical depression on October 7 to a Category 4 Hurricane by the afternoon of October 9. Track forecasts had come into better agreement that the storm would make landfall along the Florida Panhandle and push across the Southeast toward the end of the work week.

Morning temperatures on Wednesday, October 10, were above normal across the entire state. The low temperature of 75 degrees reported at the NWS station located at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport was the warmest on record for the date and was also 21 degrees above the normal value of 54 degrees. Other locations that reported low temperatures greater than 15 degrees above normal included Florence, Charleston, Aiken, Anderson and Greenville, all of which reported minimum temperatures in the upper 60's to low 70's. There were reports of several inches of saltwater covering the Highway 61 exit lane from Highway 17 South around the same time an astronomical high tide value of 7.39 ft. MLLW at 9:00 a.m. was measured at the Charleston Harbor gauge.

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, during the afternoon of October 10, with peak winds of 155 mph, and became the third most intense Atlantic hurricane on record to make landfall in the United States. The hurricane continued to track northeastward across Georgia on the evening hours of October 10 and weakened to a tropical storm just before midnight. The outer bands of the storm began impacting portions of South Carolina during the overnight hours. Thunderstorms embedded in the outer bands spawned three tornadoes in Orangeburg County. A storm survey conducted by the National Weather Service Office in Columbia indicated the two that touched down near Branchville and the one close to Rowesville were all EF0 tornadoes, with wind speeds between 65 and 85 mph.

Another tornado formed early on Thursday, October 11, near Eastover in Richland County. Based on the storm survey, the tornado was given a rating of EF1, with wind speeds between 86 and 110 mph. Rains from Michael ranged across the state between 2 to 3 inches, with 3 to 5 inches in the Midlands and Upstate with locally heavier amounts. A CoCoRaHS station in Darlington County near Hartsville reported a 24-hour rainfall total of 6.01 inches on the morning of October 11. The NWS station in West Pelzer broke the daily rainfall record for October 11 with a total of 3.30 inches (the previous record was 0.49 inches in 1970), and the station at Caesars Head measured 3.47 inches, which broke the record of 0.45 inches in 1970. Unlike Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael was a fast-moving storm system that raced across the state at nearly 20 mph. The speed at which Hurricane Michael moved created the scenario for more impacts from the wind than there had been with Hurricane Florence. Some of the peak wind gusts associated with Michael in the Midlands were a 53-mph wind gust at the Orangeburg Municipal Airport and a 43-mph wind gust at the Rock Hill Airport. Along the coast, the National Data Buoy Center's instruments on the Capers Nearshore Buoy reported a 60-mph gust, while a station on Daufuskie Island reported a peak gust of 59 mph, and the Grand Strand Airport reported a gust of 53 mph. The strong winds and rainfall from Michael, along with the still saturated soils from Florence, combined to bring down trees and cause widespread power outages across the state. By the evening hours on Thursday, Michael had moved into North Carolina and Virginia.

Behind Michael, a high-pressure system with drier and cooler weather moved into the region. For the first time since May, no NWS stations across the state reported a high temperature above 90 degrees. Many locations in the Upstate reported maximum temperatures in the lower to mid-70's and stations along the South Carolina coast observed maximum temperatures in the upper 70's to low 80's. The NWS stations at the Grand Strand Airport, in McClellanville and Beaufort MCAS reported a high of 80 degrees. The change in airmass provided a break from the above-normal temperatures that continued across the state through September and into October, bringing the temperatures back to normal for this time of year. During the morning of Saturday, October 13, minimum temperatures across the state were below 60 degrees, with a handful of stations reporting low temperatures in the upper 50's. The highest temperature reported anywhere in the state on October 13 was 85 degrees in Wagener (Aiken County). Low temperatures across the state were mainly in the mid-to-upper 50's on October 14 and the NWS station at Greenville-Spartanburg Airport reported a high temperature of 67 degrees. By the end of the weekend, high pressure shifted into the Atlantic, and unseasonably warm weather with above-normal temperatures returned to start the new week.

(Note: The highest and lowest official temperatures and highest precipitation totals provided below are based on observations from the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer network and the National Weather Service's Forecast Offices.)
The highest temperature reported was 94 degrees on October 11 in Dillon in Dillon County.
The lowest temperature reported was 47 degrees at Sandy Springs in Anderson County on October 13.
The maximum 24-hour precipitation reported was 6.08 inches at the National Weather Service Station in Elliott (Lee County) ending at 8:00 a.m. on October 13. This total also stands at the 7-day rainfall total at the station.
The CoCoRaHS Station Hartsville (SC-DR-20) reported a 24-hour precipitation total of 6.01 inches, ending at 7:00 a.m. on October 11.
The state average precipitation for the seven-day period was 27.0 inches.


 Weekly*Since Jan 1Departure
Anderson Airport2.3143.758.9
Greer Airport4.8446.569.0
Charlotte, NC Airport2.9043.8210.3
Columbia Metro Airport5.1234.45-2.5
Orangeburg Airport0.71M34.21-4.8
Augusta, GA Airport3.4041.746.0
Florence Airport3.3645.6710.0
North Myrtle Beach Airport0.5651.768.2
Charleston Air Force Base1.6442.15-1.6
Savannah, GA Airport2.5130.95-10.0
*Weekly precipitation totals ending midnight Sunday.                    
M - Missing precipitation value during the week.                         


4-inch depth soil temperature: Clinton: 77 degrees. Columbia: 76 degrees. Barnwell: 70 degrees. Mullins: 70 degrees.


Many of the rivers within the Pee Dee Watershed finally dropped below minor flood stage levels for the first time in nearly a month when Hurricane Michael passed through the state. The storm dropped widespread rainfall totals of 2 to 3 inches, with some locally higher amounts of 6 inches in portions of the Midlands and Pee Dee regions. This added rainfall, on already saturated soils and swollen rivers, caused a few smaller tributaries to quickly rise and increased the streamflow of the some of the major rivers across the state. Rivers that had been affected by the persistent dry conditions, such as Rocky Creek at Great Falls, returned to normal streamflow levels, while Little River near Mt. Carmel continued to measure below normal streamflow values.


Charleston Harbor (CHTS1): 79.9 degrees.
Capers Nearshore Buoy (Station 41029): 79.9 degrees.
Fripps Nearshore Buoy (Station 41033): 80.2 degrees.

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