MYRTLE BEACH — Myrtle Beach was the driest part of South Carolina last year, with rainfall more than 19 inches below average.

Officials say about 33 inches of rain fell last year.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports (http://bit.ly/yoELuO ) there is an upside to the dry weather. It means better weather for hitting the surf and golfing. It also means that commercial construction and road projects can be completed faster because there are no wet weather delays.

State Climatologist Hope Mizzell says Horry and Georgetown counties are now in a moderate drought but that could be upgraded when the state’s drought committee meets later this winter.

The dry weather is not a recent phenomenon. The past five years have been dry with cumulative totals in the area almost 56 inches below average.