Clouds broke over S.C. after 90-day streak

jholleman@thestate.comAugust 28, 2013 

19950123 Rainy day


The rain finally took a break in South Carolina this week, just in time to prevent a precipitation-every-day summer.

No rainfall was reported anywhere in the state Tuesday or Wednesday, ending 90 consecutive days when rain was reported somewhere in the state. Because many of the volunteer reporting sites record their measurements daily in 6 a.m.-8 a.m. period, it’s impossible to know whether the rain fell on the day reported or the previous day.

But on most days during the streak, there were multiple rainfall reports throughout the state.

There were only four days where there’s much doubt whether rain fell in the state — May 29, May 30, June 14 and Aug. 26, according to state climatologist Hope Mizzell. Only one or two sites statewide reported rain on those days.

With those caveats, the statewide streak of rainy days began May 29 and ended Aug. 26. Another streak could start Thursday, with a 30 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms late in the day over much of the state.

There’s no official record for consecutive rainy days. In fact, long-term records wouldn’t mean much, because the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, with its hundreds of volunteer observers, has been around only five years.

Those rain gauges give a much broader view of rainfall in the state than in the past, said Mizzell, who encourages more people to join the network. Before COCORAHS, records were based only on a handful of National Weather Service gauges and dozens of official weather service-trained observers. Scattered thunderstorms might miss those sites.

Rainfall totals have been as impressive as the consecutive-day streak.

Greenville-Spartanburg has registered 30.03 inches since June 1, the second-wettest such period ever. Columbia (24.89, fifth-wettest), Augusta (25.74, second-wettest) and Florence (25.77, wettest ever) also have been swamped this summer, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center.

Daily rainfall has topped half an inch 18 times this summer and 31 times this year in Columbia. Greenville-Spartanburg has topped half an inch 20 times this summer and 33 times this year.

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