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Author: Jared Smith

Jared Smith founded @chswx on Twitter in 2008 as an experiment in disseminating weather data through social media. Somehow, it caught on, and he kept doing it.

The week ahead: A little more unsettled with fronts bringing shower chances

/ December 5, 2021 at 9:18 PM

The week ahead features something we haven’t seen in a little while: legitimate rain chances across the metro area, thanks to a couple cold fronts poised to affect the area throughout the week.

Monday begins with another foggy start, with the potential for dense fog certainly in play across much of the area to start the day. Be ready to slow down and use low beams during the morning commute. Temperatures will then rise into the mid-70s despite predominant cloud cover.

Temperatures take a tumble Tuesday as a cold front backdoors into the area, allowing high pressure to wedge down from the north. A few showers can’t be ruled out as southwest winds aloft overrun the wedge, causing lift, clouds, and some precipitation. The better shot of rain is on Wednesday as some upper-level help arrives to improve forcing for ascent and helps to shove another cold front offshore. Thursday looks to be the coolest day of the set as another high pressure wedge looks to take hold, keeping partly to mostly cloudy skies in place with temperatures struggling to reach 60°. We warm back into the 70s on Friday as we head into the weekend with slight shower chances at times.

We’ll also need to continue to monitor morning high tides for the first part of the week for minor tidal flooding thanks to the recent new moon at perigee. Right now, it looks like the 9:21am high tide on Monday could top out between 7.1-7.3′, which would produce some flooding near Gadsden Creek and perhaps even into the City Market. Tuesday and Wednesday mornings could also see minor flooding episodes. Keep an ear out for Coastal Flood Advisories from the National Weather Service.

Tricky temperature forecast for Sunday as we watch the wedge

/ December 4, 2021 at 9:34 PM

After a foggy start, the temperature forecast could be a bit tricky on Sunday as we see how entrenched a wedge of high pressure from the north can get across the area. If the wedge can build in and hold up (additional cloud cover would help), temperatures may not get out of the 60s. If the wedge comes out on the weaker side and erodes a bit, there’s a chance we may once again reach the low to mid-70s in spots. Recent model guidance has trended back warmer from earlier today, but the wedge can sometimes be stronger than what guidance will depict. The good news is that the forecast remains rain-free regardless. Just be ready to make quick wardrobe adjustments if needed.

There will once again be a risk for shallow coastal flooding around the 8:26 AM high tide. Water levels should reach 7.3-7.5′ in the harbor, perhaps on the higher end of this depending on the extent and strength of northeasterly winds. Be ready for a few road closures in downtown Charleston tomorrow morning, but widespread problems are currently not expected.

Dry, warm weather continues for the weekend

/ December 3, 2021 at 8:32 PM

High pressure remains in control of our weather over the weekend, keeping partly cloudy skies in place and unseasonably warm temperatures in tow. We look to return to the mid-70s Saturday after starting out around 50°, weather that is more reminiscent of October than December. We keep this in place on Sunday, with highs perhaps coming in a couple degrees cooler as a cold front gets nearby (but not through the area, it looks like).

The only weather worry will be the risk for minor coastal flooding with the morning high tides on Saturday, Sunday, and possibly into Monday as the new moon at perigee brings us another round of king tides. High tide on Saturday morning arrives around 7:32am and on Sunday at 8:26am. Minor flooding can close a few roads around downtown Charleston, particularly near the Citadel and the City Market, but these disruptions should be easy to bypass. (It’ll be nothing like what we saw around this time last month, that’s for sure!) Keep an ear out for Coastal Flood Advisories from the National Weather Service and avoid roads covered in salt water as that’s nasty for your car.

Unseasonably warm today

/ at 8:45 AM

Mostly sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures will reign once again today as we remain under the influence of high pressure centered over the Gulf. Westerly winds with a touch of a downslope component will help temperatures warm some 8-10° above normal for early December. Warm weather fans, rejoice! Cool weather fans…I’m sorry.

Warming trend ongoing for Thursday

/ December 1, 2021 at 5:54 PM

We hit 70° at the airport today for the first time since November 21, when we topped out at 75°. We’ll head north of 70° again on Thursday after starting the day in the low 40s in the metro (upper 30s further inland). Looks like we’ll top out in the low-to-mid 70s in the afternoon, with slightly cooler air at the immediate coast keeping temperatures in the upper 60s at the beaches. All in all, a fairly stellar December day (for our warm weather fans, anyway).

The 70s could continue all the way through next Monday before another frontal passage knocks temperatures back into the low 60s on Tuesday. Overall, the Climate Prediction Center outlook favors warmer-than-normal temperatures over the next couple weeks after what was a rather chilly November, tying 1940 for ninth-coolest November on record at the airport climate site with an average temperature of 54.1°. (Records began at the airport climate site in March of 1937.)

Back to the 70s to close out the work week

/ November 30, 2021 at 9:09 PM

Meteorological winter begins tomorrow, running from December 1 through February 28, 2022. It sure won’t feel like it, though: temperatures will warm to near 70° on Wednesday, and then peek into the low to mid-70s on Thursday and Friday. We’ll have some cloud cover associated with a weak disturbance aloft Wednesday, but other than that, expect quite a bit of sunshine over the next few days.

The only weather concern looks to be a small risk for minor coastal flooding beginning with Friday morning’s high tide as we head toward the new moon phase. So far, the NWS forecast has that tide peaking just shy of 7’, which is the minor coastal flooding criteria. Peeking a little further down the road, guidance indicates that Saturday morning’s high tide may scrape that 7’ threshold as well. So far, though, it certainly does not appear to be a repeat of the last new moon, which brought us top-15 tides during the first week of November.

Finally, we bid adieu to the 2021 hurricane season, which was another extremely busy season in terms of named storms (21). For the second consecutive year, the primary storm name list was exhausted — but we did not have to crack open the supplemental list, at least. Once again, our luck has held here — aside from the quickly-developing Tropical Storm Danny and the nocturnal tornado outbreak associated with Tropical Storm Elsa, it was another rather quiet season for the Lowcountry, and for that I am grateful.

A freezing cold start turns into a nice Tuesday

/ November 29, 2021 at 8:11 PM

A freeze is expected overnight into Tuesday morning across much of the Lowcountry away from the immediate coast and near bodies of water. Make sure sensitive plants are covered and your pets are inside and warm!

Once we clear the chilly start, it’s going to turn out to be a really nice day across the area as highs head into the low 60s under brilliant, unfettered sunshine — a rare no weather worries day! Quiet weather continues for the next several days as a warming trend commences heading into the end of the week, in which the 70s will make a return.

The cherry on top? Tomorrow’s the last day of hurricane season — something we all can celebrate.

The week ahead: 70s return, but dry weather persists

/ November 28, 2021 at 9:16 PM

Below-normal temperatures and mostly sunny skies will continue through Tuesday to close out November, meteorological fall, and hurricane season as a weak front gets through overnight to reinforce the cooler airmass in place. Changes are coming, though — as the calendar turns to December and the beginning of meteorological winter, we’re gonna get warmer. The warming trend begins Wednesday, and we’ll look for temperatures in the low 70s for a spell Thursday-Saturday with generally partly cloudy to mostly sunny skies before another front gets through Sunday, sending temperatures a few degrees back below normal.

One thing that’s not forecasted? Rain, at least this week. Persistent dry air continues to keep any sort of rain to a bare minimum across the area with tonight’s frontal passage and will likely at least hamper rainfall development over land with Sunday’s passage, too. Peeking ahead in time, models suggest that the second week of December could see a little bit more in the way of precipitation, but we’ll need to see if that signal holds. For now, though, a good chunk of the Tri-County remains in abnormally dry conditions, with some of the northern fringes creeping into moderate drought. I expect this drought area to expand with Thursday’s Drought Monitor update.

For now, though, we will continue to savor the quiet weather. Have a great week ahead, and Happy Hanukkah to all of you who are celebrating!

Chilly Saturday, a little warmer Sunday as predominantly quiet weather continues

/ November 26, 2021 at 7:52 PM

We’ve got another chilly night ahead; temperatures could scrape freezing at a few spots by Saturday morning, so be sure you’ve got sensitive plants still protected and your pets have a warm place to be overnight.

Saturday will run a little cooler than today did in the wake of a cold front that came through earlier today. After starting the day around freezing (with wind chills making it feel about 3-5° colder), highs will top out in the upper 50s despite mostly sunny skies. Winds look to be generally light throughout the day with a shift in direction to the southwest late.

Sunday will feature more clouds but will also be warmer thanks to westerly winds ahead of another weak cold front poised to come through early Monday morning. Temperatures will rebound to the mid-60s in the afternoon after starting around 40°, making for a seasonably comfortable late November day in the Lowcountry.

Drought update »

Thanksgiving 3-day forecast: Below-normal temperatures to continue, with a little warming on Thanksgiving Day

/ November 23, 2021 at 8:16 PM

A Freeze Warning is in effect overnight as a killing freeze is likely going to end the growing season across the Lowcountry. While places near bodies of water such as Lake Moultrie and coastal areas should remain above freezing, the vast majority of us look to experience at least some duration of freezing temperatures, with the longest-duration freeze well inland. Protect plants, pets, pipes, and people tonight!

Temperatures will warm only to the mid-50s on Wednesday — perhaps a degree or two warmer than we saw today — but still well below normal for this point in November. We’ll dip back toward and likely below freezing in many spots again on Thanksgiving morning before high pressure slips offshore and return flow develops, helping temperatures to warm into the mid-60s with mostly sunny skies for much of the day. Friday morning will be considerably warmer ahead of a cold front that’ll swing through during the day. Said front will enhance cloud cover and help keep highs back into the low-to-mid 60s once again, a few clicks below normal but certainly not to the degree we experienced today and will experience again on Wednesday.

Travel safely (if you’re headed anywhere) and have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!