Myrtle Beach area has wettest June on record

troot@thesunnews.comJuly 1, 2013 

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— Forecasters logged more than 12 inches of rainfall at the North Myrtle Beach observation station for the month of June, making it the wettest one on record since 1999, when recordkeeping at the location began, said Mark Bacon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C.

And the rain isn’t expected to stop until Thursday, when forecasters say partly cloudy skies return to the Myrtle Beach area thanks to a Bermuda high pressure system expected to shift west Wednesday evening and bring drier area and warmer weather.

No major problems were reported in the Myrtle Beach area from Monday’s rainfall and thunderstorms that were constant throughout the day. However, a flood warning lasted for the area for much of Monday evening, and area farmers reported the rain further saturated fields making it difficult to harvest some crops.

In Brunswick County, Monday’s rain led American Red Cross officials around 5:30 p.m. to announce that a shelter in Sunset Beach would be opened for families who needed it. Soon afterward the agency said it would not open a shelter, but remain on alert if needed.

Randy Webster, Horry County’s emergency management director said a funnel cloud was spotted about 10:45 a.m. Monday near S.C. 31 and Robert Grissom Parkway, but no damage was reported.

Storms during the weekend were responsible for two small tornadoes that touched down on Saturday in the Socastee area, but caused minor damage to nearby homes and a home under construction were reported.

“We’re in constant contact with the weather service regarding where we are in the weather pattern,” Webster said. “The recent weather patterns can be unnerving . . . but so far, so good. At least in the short term everything looks like it’s going to be ok. While there are big down pours, we are not seeing any widespread issues.”

During the month of June, the Grand Strand received 12.45 inches of rain, which is 7.81 inches above normal, according to totals recorded at the North Myrtle Beach observation station. During June 2012, the area received 2.52 inches of rain.

Between Jan. 1 and Sunday, the area had received 29.89 inches of rain, which is 7.85 inches more than normal. During the same period in 2012, the area received 14.73 inches of rainfall.

The next wettest Junes were in 2006 when 8.04 inches of rain fell and in 2003 when 7.92 inches of rainfall was recorded, Bacon said.

In comparison, Florence and Wilmington, N.C., each recorded their eighth wettest Junes since totals were kept from 1948 in Florence and 1871 in Wilmington, Bacon said.

September is typically the wettest month in the Myrtle Beach area thanks to tropical systems, Bacon said.

No tropical systems are currently swirling in the Atlantic basin, which is good news, officials said. But even though the ground has been saturated since last month, Webster said he is not concerned about the wet weather.

“As long as we don’t have any major wind events in the next three or four days or next week I’m not concerned. And I don’t see anything in the forecast that would be concerning me like that,” Webster said. “As long as there’s nothing on the horizon from a tropical standpoint I think we’ll have time to recover unless a tropical system breaks in the next couple of weeks.”

The Myrtle Beach area remained under storm flood warning until 10:45 p.m. Monday a flood watch was in effect until 6 a.m. Tuesday, according to forecasters.

Officials warned that motorists should not drive through floodwaters and use caution while traveling during periods of heavy rainfall. People living in areas prone to flooding should also take the necessary precautions.

William Hardee, an area agronomy agent for Horry and Marion Counties, said the abundance of rain recently has saturated farm fields making it difficult for farmers to harvest wheat or plant soybeans, a late season crop.

Corn has been stunted by excessive water and some tobacco diseases caused by the plants being wet over an extended period of time has been recorded.

“You get rain and moisture over a long period, it helps the bacteria and viruses,” Hardee said.

A hurricane now would be devastating to farmers. He said that plant roots don’t hold as well in saturated soil and crops can easily get blown over. The same would be true of mature trees, meaning a hurricane in these conditions could produce more fallen trees than normal.

“(Growing crops) is all about a happy medium,” Hardee said. “We haven’t had that for a while.”

Reporter Steve Jones contributed to this report.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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