Myrtle Beach area expected to get break from record temps, tropics

Daily deluges aren’t the recipe for a tourist’s dream vacation, but the drenching rains have brought a brief respite to sweltering temperatures on the Grand Strand.

The first six months of the year set marks for being the warmest on record in South Carolina, according to WBTW morning meteorologist Martha Spencer, who said that Monday’s downpour put an exclamation point on an abnormally damp weekend.

“This month there has been over five inches of rain,” Spencer said. “There was an inch and a half over the weekend, but Monday will be [more than that].”

The constant evening showers have helped July buck the trend of monthly record temperatures, which have been an average of 2.6 degrees warmer over the first six months, according to Spencer. July, which at an average of 91 degrees is the hottest month of the year in the Myrtle Beach area, has been a tad lower than normal despite lofty heat indexes that have prompted several heat advisories throughout the month.

The sweltering temperatures are expected to subside in the waning weeks of summer.

“There is not strong indication that August will be hot like has been all July,” said Tim Armstrong with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C. “We were already a degree below normal from the average high and low in July.”

There also seems to be a break on the horizon for vacationers on the Strand, with the forecast looking more beach-goer friendly over the next few days and beyond, despite some renewed activity in the tropics.

The National Hurricane Center was tracking a tropical wave about 900 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, but predicted there was only a 20 percent chance it would become a tropical cyclone.

Spencer said one of the factors for a slow season could be African dust, which is simply dirt particles that blow into the ocean off the western coast of Africa. The dust can build up on the water surface and prevent a tropical depression from forming even if other factors could be in place.

El Nino is also playing a factor.

“El nino has been pretty strong so far,” Spencer said. “It’s been keeping Pacific waters cooler.”

Armstrong agreed.

“If we were to get anything this year it would be August or early September,” he said.

Although the area doesn’t seem to have to worry about tropical storms at the moment, Monday’s rain may have seemed like one to some residents.

In Georgetown County, some parts of U.S. 17 had to be closed because of flooding and warnings were posted in Horry County as well. Georgetown County emergency management director Sam Hodge said one of the biggest dangers associated with flooding were drivers ignoring road closures.

“The problem is we have people who like to drive around barricades and they find themselves stranded,” he said. “As long as everyone obeys the barricades and the orders given by the police and fire department everything will be fine.”