As South Carolinans ushered in the Memorial Day holiday weekend, record-setting hot temperatures continued to beat down on the southeastern portion of the state, the National Weather Service on Sunday said, adding that the sweltering conditions are expected to last through most of the week.
Forecasters on Sunday issued heat advisories for cities across the Lowcountry and Midlands regions that lasted through the evening. Though some relief was possible Thursday or Friday, the temperatures in the forecast were still expected to remain in the 90s.
South Carolina is joined by other states across the Deep South experiencing dangerously high temperatures, including Georgia and Alabama.
The exorbitant heat experienced across these states is largely attributed to air from the middle-to-upper atmosphere sinking as it's being compressed by higher pressure, causing a warming effect, said Rebecca Davidson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.
Elsewhere, Atlanta hit 94 degrees Saturday, breaking a record set in 1960. Tuscaloosa, Alabama reached a record 97 degrees, and Pensacola, Florida, set a new record with a high of 95, the Associated Press reported. Coming in at 93 degrees, Nashville, Tennessee, tied its 1926 record.
Sunday became the hottest day on record for the month of May in Charleston with a high of 100 degrees, as well as a heat index of 105, inching past the previous record of 99 degrees which was recorded on May 21, 1938, said Peter Mohlin, another meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.
In Charleston, not only was Sunday the hottest day on record for the month of May, but it also became the earliest point in the year for a 100-degree day. Previously, that record was June 2, 1985.
"Typically we tell people to limit their time outdoors (and) drink plenty of fluids," Mohlin said. "Stay out of the direct sunshine as much as possible."
Breaking the record for the hottest day in the month of May, temperatures in the Midlands on Sunday were as high as 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Columbia, tying its previous record set just a day earlier. Through Wednesday, the heat index in South Carolina's capital city will be as high as 106 degrees.