The South Carolina weather year of 2014 featured a devastating ice storm, record-breaking daily rainfall and amazingly early snow, but the annual statistics will end up relatively normal.
The only hurricane that threatened the state, Arthur in early July, caused few problems in South Carolina before coming ashore in North Carolina. It’s now been 10 seasons since the last hurricanes made landfall in the Palmetto State. Charley and Gaston, both relatively weak Category 1 hurricanes, came ashore in South Carolina in 2004.
The 2014 summer months of June, July and August ranked as the fifth hottest in 128 years of record-keeping for Columbia, with a daily average of 82.3 degrees. Factor in the slightly cooler than typical winter and fall, however, and 2014 couldn’t even break the top 20 warmest years. (It was 33rd warmest through Dec. 29 with a daily average of 64.54.)
Winter featured one of the most destructive ice storms in history in February, and the cool fall featured the earliest snowfall in Columbia history on Nov. 1. The official site at Columbia Metropolitan Airport got a trace, but a couple of inches fell just a few miles away in western Lexington County.
Residents of the Orangeburg area will remember 2014 as the year of flood. More than 8 inches of rain fell in just a couple of hours on July 21, swamping several buildings downtown and a few low-lying areas outside of town.
The flooding could have been worse, but much of the Lowcountry was beginning to slide into drought conditions early in the summer. By November, the entire state was in an incipient drought, though December rains have helped alleviate those conditions.
Officially, 2014 ranked 76th wettest through Dec. 29 in the past 128 years in Columbia, with 42.06 inches of rain. The mountains and the coast got more rain – 50.2 inches in Greenville-Spartanburg, 52.99 in Charleston.