The Midlands has already broken a record for the number of fall days at or above 90 degrees, but the tally isn't likely to increase any more.
That was the good news, one could say, as part of a mixed report and outlook for Sumter and the Midlands …
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1. 2019 27
2. 2018 25
2. 1954 25
4. 2010 24
5. 1925 23
Source: National Weather Service, Columbia
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the National Weather Service, Columbia and the Midlands this year also experienced its longest stretch between 100-degree days. It was 132 days. The first triple-digit day was May 25, and the last (hopefully) was Friday, Oct. 4.
The previous longest stretch was way back in 1954. The first 100-degree day was June 9 and the last was Oct. 5.
That was the good news, one could say, as part of a mixed report and outlook for Sumter and the Midlands from National Weather Service-Columbia Meteorologist Leonard Vaughan, who spoke Monday.
Since Sept. 1 - which is considered the start of the three-month "Meteorological Fall" season by the weather service - through Sunday, the Midlands had 27 days of daily high temps reaching 90 or higher, Vaughan said.
That was out of a total of 36 days. The 27th day of 90-and-above temps was Friday, when it reached 100 degrees at both Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter and the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, according to the weather service.
The previous record for steamy-hot fall days in the Midlands reaching at least 90 was 25 and occurred two times - last year and 1954, he said. Fall runs through Nov. 30 in meteorological terms, Vaughan said.
Anyone and everyone had to notice the cool-down that came on Saturday, though. Sumterites opened up their windows for the first time in a while that day and worked outside as the daily high at Shaw only registered 71 degrees, according to weather service data. That was a 29-degree drop from the previous day.
A "backdoor cold front from the north," according to Vaughan, caused the temperature shift with steady cooler northeast winds and a lot of the clouds in the sky.
It happens often this time of year and through the winter here. It's also called "cold-air damming" or "the wedge."
"So, you get this sort-of 'wedge' of cool air that builds down across central and the Upstate of South Carolina," Vaughan said. "It builds down from North Carolina down into South Carolina and will even push into Georgia. That's what kept us cool, and the clouds helped a lot, also."
Through Oct. 23, Vaughan said, we can expect days with high temperatures in the low-to-mid 80s, but we will probably not hit 90 again this fall.
For today and Wednesday, the weather service's forecast shows highs in the upper 70s and lows at night in the upper 50s. This pattern is a return to normal for this time of year in Sumter and the Midlands.
This weekend it will warm up to the low-to-mid 80s, according to forecast models.
Bad news for agriculture. September's rainfall total at Columbia Metropolitan Airport was 1.95 inches. Average rainfall for the month is 3.54 inches.
Drought conditions persist almost across the state, Vaughan said. Only three counties are not in a drought - Georgetown, Charleston and Williamsburg - and that's because of the rainfall from Hurricane Dorian in early September.
Most parts of the City of Sumter are considered "abnormally dry" at the D0 level, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The western part of Sumter County to include Shaw and going toward Richland County is at "moderate drought," or D1, level, Vaughan said, a worse status.
A small western portion of the county to include Horatio and Haygood is at "severe drought," or D2.
Drought conditions are updated each Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor, he said, but he doesn't expect any portions of Sumter County to change this week.
In general, counties along the Interstate-95 corridor are "abnormally dry," Vaughan said. East of I-95 toward the coast, conditions are better, but to the west conditions get worse with D2 and "extreme drought," D3.
Weather forecasts don't show good chances of rainfall until the middle of next week, he said. The Climate Prediction Center out of Washington, D.C., forecasts October will be drier than normal for South Carolina.
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