After a record-breaking Memorial Day weekend, the heat wave continues as stifling high pressure remains in force over the Charleston metro area. Temperatures approaching the century mark away from the immediate coast are once again expected. While heat indices will not pose a major issue, low humidity will instead elevate the wildfire risk. Changes are coming later this week, though.
A record-breaking weekend concludes
All sorts of temperature records fell this weekend at the Charleston International Airport climate site in North Charleston:
- May 26 established a new record high temperature for the month of May at 100°, surpassing 99° set on May 21, 1938.
- May 27 tied the May 26 record high by again reaching 100°. This is the earliest known occurrence of consecutive 100° temperatures on record, and is the first time since June of 2011 that 100° temperatures have been recorded on two or more consecutive days.
- At 100°, May 27 was the warmest Memorial Day on record, surpassing 94° on Memorial Day 1985.
- Daily temperature records for May 25-27 either tied or fell.
The record heat drove many to the beaches, many of which then got caught in traffic jams yesterday as the Ben Sawyer Bridge, connecting Mt. Pleasant to Sullivan’s Island, jammed open thanks to steel expanding in the record heat. Seriously:
Fortunately, heat indices remained mostly in check as downslope flow from the mountains dried out the air, making for a rare “dry heat” away from the immediate coast. In fact, Sunday was the only day with a Heat Advisory as heat indices rose over 105° in the wake of the seabreeze in the afternoon.
Stifling heat continues, then a welcomed pattern change
As the week moves on, the strong ridge of high pressure aloft will begin to retrograde further southward, breaking down the “heat dome” that has been in place for several days. Still, brace for a few more very hot days in the upper 90s to around 100° before temperatures begin to fall off by Friday. We’ll have a “cooler” weekend this go-around, with highs only topping out in the low 90s each day.
As surface high pressure moves over the water, return flow around the backside of the high will help pump in a little more moisture as well, bringing isolated thunderstorm chances back into the picture starting Friday. Don’t count on these being much in the way of drought-busters, though, as the airmass overall looks to remain quite dry for several more days.
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