Folly Beach, Patriots Point events washed out

Rain scaled back plans to open the cockpits on the flight deck of the Yorktown to visitors Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012, but some people braved the intermittent downpours to get a closer look at the vintage aircraft. Rain also canceled plans for a live "Fox and Friends" weather broadcast from Folly Beach Sunday morning. DAVE MUNDAY/STAFF 02/19/2012

Sunday's downpours were great for parched Lowcountry soil, but they prompted a Fox news team to cancel a live broadcast from Folly Beach and closed up the cockpits on the flight deck of the Yorktown.

The "Fox and Friends" broadcast would have given national exposure to the erosion that has closed down the county park, highlighted how trash hurts sea turtles and spotlighted an effort to put veterans to work cleaning up islands off the East Coast.

But all is not lost. The broadcast could be rescheduled as early as next month.

Almost 2 inches of rain fell in many areas of the Lowc

ountry Sunday. The National Weather Service measured 1.8 inches at the Charleston International Airport.

"Exceptional drought conditions are in effect, so this rainfall today was most welcome," said Steve Taylor, a lead forecaster with the weather service.

Rainfall has been 3 inches below normal so far this year, he said. Even worse, rainfall was 14 inches below normal last year, as measured at the airport.

The forecast calls for sunny, mild weather today and Tuesday, with a 40 percent chance of showers returning Wednesday.

Sign up for our new business newsletter

We're starting a weekly newsletter about the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina. Get ahead with us - it's free.

About two dozen people showed up at 6 a.m. Sunday at the gate that leads to the path to the Morris Island Lighthouse off Folly Beach, hoping to see or be part of the Fox broadcast. Rudy Socha, chief executive officer of Wounded Nature -- Working Veterans, was there to thank them for coming. He was scheduled to be on the show and worked with the news team on some of the logistics and publicity. He said they told him they would probably try again sometime next month.

The Yorktown was remarkably crowded with visitors Sunday. A half-dozen people interviewed at random said they were there to see the ship and weren't particularly bothered that Open Cockpit Day was rained out.

The cockpits of the A-6 Intruder and the helicopter on the flight deck were open briefly earlier in the day, according to volunteers on the ship. Heavy rains had closed them all up by the afternoon. Some visitors ventured out into the rain under umbrellas to get a closer look at the vintage aircraft on top of the ship.

This was the Yorktown's third Open Cockpit Day and the first time it was rained out, spokeswoman Ashley Smith said. The special event will be repeated this summer.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.