2015: A year of extremes

2015: A year of extremes

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Mother Nature was very tough on the Palmetto state in 2015. We saw almost every extreme weather possible. Record cold, record ice, record snow to record heat and record rain. No one was spared this year. A recap of 2015 shows that each an every part of this state was touched by some sort of extreme weather and as you read on you will remember some of the most tragic and historic events that have and are still affecting our daily lives. 

January brought record cold to parts of the area. Florence dropped to 15° one morning which broke a daily record low. North Myrtle Beach broke a daily record low as well when the airport reported a reading of 17°! Towards the end of January a coastal storm dumped over six inches of rain along the Grand Strand and created very windy conditions as winds gusted over 50 mph in some spots. 

February was equally as bad, if not worse. The entire month of February checked in more than 7° below average bringing us in as one of the top ten coldest February's on record. With all the cold in place comes winter weather and we were no stranger to winter weather in February of 2015. A pair of ice storms wreaked havoc in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand. Thousands of people were left without power in wake of these storms.

We fast forward to May when a rare pre-season Tropical Storm Ana formed. Tropical Storm Ana packed winds of 60 mph and made a direct landfall in Myrtle Beach. She brought gusty winds and minor coastal flooding. Significant erosion took place as Ana moved onshore as well due to the rough surf. 

The rest of hurricane season was quiet for coastal South Carolina. By mid summer a full blown heat wave was making us sweat. Temperatures soared above 100° and heat index values reach well into the 110s. The heat and moisture of summer allowed the numerous summer storms we see to become severe. Thunderstorms with gusty winds, hail and tremendous lightning frequented the inland and coastal areas.

September was quiet for much of the area except for the immediate coast. A rare astronomical full moon and lunar eclipsed aligned nicely with onshore winds and brought us intense coastal flooding. Coastal flooding like what we saw in September hasn't been seen in this area since Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Ocean high tides rose 7 feet above normal tearing apart our beaches and causing immense damage to our dunes.

Soon after the extreme high tides of September came the historic October flood. Anywhere from 10-24 inches of rain fell in our area  over a 4 day period creating a catastrophic once in a thousand year flood. Record high river levels were also measured in lieu of the record rain which flooded dozens of homes across the region.

November brought additional flooded to the ground soaked region as we saw a system dump 3-4 inches of rain near Conway.

December brought us record warmth. The entire area saw high temperatures run 15-20 degrees above average some days. The prolonged heat we saw allowed us to become the warmest December on record in North Myrtle Beach and Florence. Kids were playing in the waters of our beaches on Christmas day when highs neared 80°.  

The entire year in both North Myrtle Beach and Florence rung in as the wettest year ever recorded.

To sum up 2015 and the weather events that occurred in one story cannot be done. To combine the affects, the impacts and the lives that were touched this year due to the weather is unimaginable and we will hopefully be prepared the next time a historic weather event takes place.

Needless to say, 2015 was a very active year and it put meteorologists to work. Through the thick and thin of it all - South Carolina and the events we saw has only made us stronger and more weather aware and all we can do for now is to always be prepared. Our area is not limited to one particular type of weather but all types and every extreme of weather that Mother Nature can throw at us.

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