The Columbia area should begin to dry out by the weekend, but don’t expect that trend to last.
Weather forecasters say that after a dry May, June should be rainier than average in South Carolina. And as the summer progresses, the state should experience hotter temperatures than it normally sees, according to the National Weather Service.
June, which on average receives 4.69 inches of rain, already has had 3.68 inches in the first three days of the month, the weather service reports. Showers and thunderstorms were expected again Wednesday night and through Thursday, before the chances of precipitation drop Friday and Saturday.
Drenching rains caused some sporadic flooding on Columbia streets late Tuesday, when the city broke a 112-year-old rainfall record with the 2.42 inches that fell. The Rocky Branch Creek area on Whaley Street flooded, but no major problems were reported in Five Points. Nonetheless, merchants in low areas were preparing to pull out sandbags to protect their stores if more heavy rain hits.
The effects of El Nino, a global weather pattern tied to warmer Pacific Ocean water, are expected to displace the jet stream in the South and increase chances of rain through June, weather service meteorologist Chris Rohrbach said. El Nino also should push temperatures up temperatures this summer, he said.
El Nino precipitation is more likely to fall in the form of afternoon thundershowers instead of soaking, day-long rains, he said. “We may have more showers, but it really depends on the day.”
June’s rainfall has pushed the area’s precipitation total to 19.5 inches this year, nearly 3 inches higher than the 30-year average for the first half of the year, Rohrbach said. In contrast to the 3.68 inches in June, the month of May had only 1.71 inches of rain – and most of that fell on a single day.
Meanwhile, Rohrbach said South Carolina residents should brace for hotter weather in July and August than typically has been seen during the past three decades at this time of year.
Rohrbach could not predict how many days over 100 degrees that South Carolina may get, but he said the Columbia area experienced five days over 100 last summer.
Columbia’s rainfall Tuesday set a record for that date.
The 2.42 inches broke the old record of 2.3 inches for June 2 set 112 years ago.