Top 10 Hottest Temperatures in South Carolina History


In the dog days of summer, South Carolina can get quite warm with the combination of high temperatures and high humidity. One always thinks that there can’t be somewhere hotter than what they just experienced on a blazing hot day. My first hypothesis before crunching the data on this is that the hottest temperatures had to be somewhere in the Sandhills region of the state. Driving through Columbia or Sumter, the temperature on one’s car seems to put out numbers that are simply unbelievable. Even Columbia’s visitor’s bureau has captured this thought with first their “Famously Hot” slogan and now their “The Real Southern Hot Spot” slogan.

Without further ado, below is a table of the top 10 (with some ties) temperatures measured in South Carolina history (as of August 31, 2018) with date,  nearest location, and temperature.

Top 10 Temperatures Measured in SC History (1853 – August 2018):

# Date Location Temperature [°F]
1 06/29/2012 Columbia, SC (USC Campus) 113
T-2 06/28/1954 Camden, SC 111
T-2 09/04/1925 Blackville, SC 111
T-2 09/08/1925 Calhoun Falls, SC 111
T-2 06/30/2012 Columbia, SC (USC Campus) 111
T-2 07/01/2012 Johnston, SC 111
T-7 06/29/2012 Columbia, SC (Owens Downtown Airport) 110
T-7 07/26/1925 Society Hill, SC 110
T-7 07/01/2012 Santuck, SC 110
T-7 08/11/2007 Johnston, SC 110
T-7 09/04/1925 Santuck, SC 110
T-7 09/04/1925 Garnett, SC 110
T-7 09/05/1925 Society Hill, SC 110
T-7 07/08/1913 Camden, SC 110

Thoughts:

  • Columbia is on this top 10 list 3 times, recently taking the top spot. It is indeed famously hot.
  • Columbia seems to have acquired their heat as of late, as Columbia has weather data available for quite some time, but the only heat records on this list are from 1992 and onward. The urban heat island effect on the city seems to be making the city hotter.
  • Late June to Early July 2012 was brutally hot – links below:
  • Knowing that climate change is pushing temperatures upward, it is amazing that 1925’s heat still makes this list. 6 of the 13 temperatures on this list were from September 1925. Even the fact that the temperatures are from September is impressive. At this time of the year, temperatures should be slowly cooling on average.
  • Most of these temperatures were from the Inner Coastal Plain into the Piedmont. It is interesting that the maximum temperatures were significantly inland. It would be worth exploring if there are linkages between soil type and air temperature. In the immediate proximity to the ocean, there are also probably some cooling effects from the water temperature.
  • Note: This data excludes all events that were noted as not passing NCDC quality checks. Two additional deletions included the removal of the Yemassee, SC (1 mi N) station reporting temperatures of 112 °F in July 1992 and 110 °F in July 1997. The closest station recording data on those same days, MCAS Beaufort, reported temperatures of 97 °F and 95 °F. The state climate office dismisses those record high temperature due to spatial inconsistencies.

All-Time South Carolina Weather Series:

  1. Top 10 Hottest Temperatures in South Carolina History (this article)
  2. Top 10 Coldest Temperatures in South Carolina History 
  3. Top 10 Highest Daily Rainfalls in South Carolina History

About this data:

As a part of a series (this being the first of many articles) exploring South Carolina weather, I have compiled a complete database of quality-controlled data from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), a part of the National Oceangraphic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This data uses observations from all kinds of sources that are quality-checked by the NCDC to ensure that these are precise measurements. In case you are interested, and I have cited below, the subset used is the Global Historical Climatology Network – Daily, containing summary of the day measurements from all kinds of sources.

Citation:

Menne, M.J., I. Durre, B. Korzeniewski, S. McNeal, K. Thomas, X. Yin, S. Anthony, R. Ray, R.S. Vose, B.E.Gleason, and T.G. Houston, 2012: Global Historical Climatology Network – Daily (GHCN-Daily), Version 3.24. NOAA National Climatic Data Center. http://doi.org/10.7289/V5D21VHZ 2018-09-03.

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