June 29, 2012: SC’s hottest day in 125 years

jholleman@thestate.comDecember 18, 2012 

— The state’s all-time high temperature record of 113 set in June now has an approved spot in the record books, according to state climatologist Hope Mizzell.

Weather experts had to do detailed studies of the facilities and measurements at Johnston in Edgefield County and Columbia, the two sites that hit 113 on Friday, June 29. They came to the conclusion the 113-degree reading at the University of South Carolina station (behind Bates House dormitory) was legitimate. There were concerns about the accuracy of the temperature at the Johnston site, so only the Columbia reading will be listed as the record high.

All that day leading up to the Fourth of July holiday weekend, firefighters battled a huge blaze at the World Wide Recycling in Cayce. In the evening, about 70 runners in Columbia were sweating it out in the Harden Street Downhill Mile run near Five Points.

The previous record of 111 was first set on Sept. 4, 1925, and matched at Blackville on Sept. 8, 1925 and at Camden on June 27, 1954. Official state temperature records go back to 1887.

The investigative process involved multiple site visits, observer and administrative interviews, analysis from on-site environmental monitors and station history. The findings were presented to members of a climate extremes committee and then to Thomas Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center.

If you’re interested in the full report, go to http://www.dnr.sc.gov/ climate/sco/Publications/SCStateTemperature Record2012.pdf

While the state record was recorded at a National Weather Service cooperative site in Columbia, the official Columbia temperature is kept at Columbia Metropolitan Airport. The high that day was 109 on June 29, and again on June 30. Those are the all-time highs at Columbia Metropolitan.

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