2013 was wet year in the Lowcountry, but not the worst
Thought the downpour would never end last year? Well, it did. And the drenching wasn't nearly as bad as it seemed.
Unofficial rain stats for the Lowcountry in 2013:
Rainfall: 58.11 inches (16th rainiest year).
Average annual rainfall: 51.13 inches (since 1938).
Record rainfall: 72.99 inches (1964).
Other recent rainy years:
1998 - 67.72 inches (5th rainiest)
1997 - 62.57 inches (8th rainiest)
2002 - 60.97 inches (12th rainiest)
January-March 2014 forecast: Drier than normal.
Sources: National Weather Service, Charleston; NWS Climate Prediction Center.
Nearly 60 inches of rain fell into the official rain gauge at the National Weather Service in North Charleston. But that wasn't even among the 10 worst years since 1938, when the record keeping started here. It wasn't even as bad as 2002, 1998 or 1997.
In fact, only about 7 inches more than the average rainfall dropped - and much of it last winter. Meanwhile, the next three months are forecast to be drier than normal, according to the NWS Climate Prediction Center.
"We started off wet and then basically were normal," said meteorologist Ron Morales, with the Charleston office.
The region did take a plunge. Asheville, N.C., had its wettest year on record, with nearly 75 inches falling. But the Lowcountry really just had a rainy few months.
Some 9-12 inches more rain than normal did fall along the Charleston peninsula, Morales said.
But otherwise, the farther inland you got, the more rain you tended to see.
"The driest locations were generally along the coast. Some inland areas were nearly 25 inches above normal," said NWS meteorologist Blair Holloway about the overall South Carolina-upper Georgia coastal region the Charleston office covers.
That's not so surprising, Morales said. Climate patterns tend to set up more rain inland of the Lowcountry or offshore.
"We're kind of in the middle," he said.
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