Hurricane Irene on approach to the Eastern Seaboard.
Hurricane Irene on approach to the Eastern Seaboard.

These archives have a record of all tropical cyclones that directly impacted the South Carolina LowCountry (dating back to 1950). Events are listed in reverse chronological order.

Storm information is taken from the National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service, HURDAT, and the Weather Prediction Center. 

2020

  • Isaias 

Tropical Storm Isaias (pronounced EE-sah-EE-ahs) brushed the LowCountry through the day on August 3rd, joining the growing list of dodged bullets since Matthew. While Isaias passed about 60 miles offshore Charleston, it strengthened into a strong category one hurricane, and brought signifigant impacts to the Grand Strand. Impacts in the LowCountry were largely minimal, but gusty conditions and heavy rain impacted the Charleston area. The highest sustained winds were in Charleston County (30-35mph), while areas closer to I-95 never got past a stiff breze. Wind gusts around 50mph were common along the immediate coast in Charleston County. Rainfall less than an inch fell in most of Allendale, Hampton, Jasper, Colleton, Dorchester, and Beaufort Counties. Portions of Berkeley and Charleston Counties saw up to 5" of rain. A sharp rainfall cut-off was observed from Moncks Corner to Kiawah Island. Isaias was forecasted to bring a damaging 2-4 foot surge and an 8 foot high tide, but this thankfully never verified. The storm had passed the area by high tide, so winds were offshore.

  • Bertha

Tropical Storm Bertha was one of the shortest lived tropical storms on record. It officially lasted from 8 AM to 2 PM (6 hours). Bertha formed from a tropical wave that moved northward off the Florida coast. The tropical wave remained disorganized until a few hours before tropical cyclone genesis. A strong ULL (Upper Level Low) to the west provided shear, but also beneficial divergence. Once Bertha formed off of Charleston, it moved slowly inland on the morning of May 27. Landfall occured just before 9:30 AM, in Awendaw. Winds were 50mph at landfall, but only the immediate coastline saw TS force winds. Surge from the storm was negligible due to the small size, landfall after low tide, and quick development. Rainfall from Bertha was the biggest impact. Portions of Berkeley and Charleston Counties saw up to five inches of rain, while the Western LowCountry remained largely dry. Winyah Bay was the only weather station to record TS force winds. Winds of 20-30mph impacted the Charleston Metro.

2019

  • Hurricane Dorian

Dorian was the strongest hurricane of the 2019 season, and was one of the strongest hurricanes to ever exist in the Atlantic Ocean. Tropical Storm Dorian formed from a tropical wave in the central MDR (Main Development Region). On August 29, it began to turn northward and strengthen. On September 1, it peaked in strength, with 185mph sustained winds. Dorian is tied for the 2nd strongest Atlantic hurricane. It stalled over the Northern Bahamas for three days, near peak intensity. After being weakened, and leaving devastation in the Bahamas, Dorian tracked northward along the SE coast. On September 4th, it regained major hurricane strength (115mph). Over the next two days, it tracked just offshore, before landfalling in NC as a category one. Dorian's surge was 3-4 feet along the South Carolina coast, but it occured during low tide. Rainfall from Dorian ranged from <0.10" in Allendale County to 12" in Georgetown County and NE Charleston County. The Charleston Metro saw 5-8" of rain, while ~2" fell in Beaufort. Fallen trees and coastal erosion were the biggest impact from Hurricane Dorian. Sustained winds were TS force along the immediate coast and into the Charleston Metro. The highest wind gust was 80mph in downtown Charleston. Wind gusts close to 100mph were recorded just offshore.

  • Tropical Storm Nestor

On October 16th, an area of low pressure in the Bay of Campeche became a potential tropical cyclone. This storm eventually deepened and advisories were issued on Tropical Storm Nestor. Nestor peaked with 60mph winds and a minimum pressure of 996mb. Nestor was only considered tropical in the Gulf of Mexico, but it brought heavy rain and high winds to the area. On October 19 and 20, the remnants of Nestor brought impacts to much of the LowCountry. Wind gust of 20-35mph impacted the region, and 1-3" of rainfall occured. Minimal storm surge impacted the shore. The effects of Nestor were minimal, and akin to a cold season nor'easter.

2018

  • Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence was a Cape Verde hurricane that formed at the end of August. Florence trecked across the Atlantic Ocean at an unusually high latitude, and in a less than ideal environment. Despite these factors, Florence peaked as a Category Four hurricane twice in its lifetime. A ridge of high pressure over the NE United States angled Florence's traectory towards the Carolinas. A week from landfall, models agreed that Florence would make landfall as a major hurricane. Most models brought Florence into central SC as a major hurricane, prompting evacuations to begin immediately for much of the coast. However, as Florence tracked closer, models narrowed in on SE NC for landfall, and SC was out of the hot seat. Wind shear and upwelling weakened Florence near landfall, but slow movement dumped torrential rainfall in NC and SC. From September 13-16 Florence meandered SW across SC, while dropping record breaking rainfall to its north. Up to 34" of rain fell across SE NC. Rainfall in the LowCountry was highest in the Charleston area, but peaked at 4". Most of the LowCountry received light rainfall, weak TS force winds, and little storm surge.

  • Hurricane Michael

A Central American Gyre (CAG) developed in early October, spawning a disturbance off of Belize. A tropical wave moved into the region and enhanced convective activity around October 4th. Over the next few days, a tropical cyclone developed and began to pull northwards. Micheal was named on October 7, and became a hurricane on October 8. Later that day Micheal became a Category Two while passing Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico. Over the next two days, Michael was pulled towards the Florida panhandle, while rapidly intensifying. On October 10, Michael made landfall as a Category 5, and turned NE into Georgia. Through October 11, Michael tracked theough the Carolinas. Sustained TS force winds occured briefly at the coast, but gusts of 40-50mph impacted the region. The highest official wind gust was 58mph in Charleston. Rainfall of 1-3" was observed with the highest totals topping off around 4" in Berkeley County. There was no signifigant storm surge.

2017

  • Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma was one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record and one of the three defining storms of the hyperactive 2017 season (the others being Maria and Harvey). Similar to Florence (2018), early model runs doomed coastal South Carolina. For a period of 3-4 days, the idea of a major hurricane moving ashore in SC seemed possible. However, Irma ended up tracking further west into Florida, before turning northwards. Irma formed on August 30, from a strong tropical wave. Over the next 10 days, Irma barrelled to the west, peaking as a Category 5 hurricane with 180mph winds. Irma devastated the Northern Caribbean, but land interaction with Cuba saved South Florida from disaster. Irma quickly weakened after turning northward into Florida, and passed through Georgia as a weakening tropical storm. However, impacts in the LowCountry were signifigant on September 11th. Storm surge was destructive due to the large size of the circulation and the onshore fetch. Charleston recorded its third highest storm surge on record at 9.92 ft. Savannah saw its second highest surge on record (12.24 ft). Many of the barrier islands were cut off, and erosion was severe. Rainfall from Irma approached 10" in portions of Jasper County, 9" in Charleston County, and 5-7" elsewhere in the LowCountry. Tropical storm force winds affected the entire region, with a max gust of 72mph on Folly Beach. Gusts topped off around 60mph for much of the area. Four tornadoes also formed in the Charleston Metro, including an EF-1 in North Charleston. Thousands lost power from the storm, and Irma ranks alongside Dorian and Matthew as the most impactful of the 2010s.

2016

  • Tropical Storm Bonnie

Tropical Storm Bonnie was an early season storm that impacted the area from May 29-May 31. Bonnie was a tropical depression at landfall, and remained one while stalled over the area. However, the storm had maximum winds of 45mph while moving northward towards SC. Rainfall from Bonnie was signifigant in Jasper and Hampton Counties where more than 10" fell. Flooded buildings and roads were the largest impact. Elsewhere, rain totals were 3-7" (highest along the coast). There was no surge associated with Bonnie, and maximum winds were 31mph in Charleston.

  • Tropical Storm Colin

Tropical Storm Colin was a highly disorganized system that formed in the Gulf of Mexico on June 5. While there was no dominate center of ciculation, and the storm appeared subtropical, Colin intensified to having max winds of 50mph before a Florida landfall. While being whisked NE by a trough, Colin brought breezy conditions and 2-5" of rainfall to the LowCountry. Highest rain totals were in Jasper and Beaufort Counties.

  • Hurricane Hermine

Hermine formed in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico after a long journey from Africa as invest 99L (the number given to Hermine's tropical wave). On August 31 Hermine began to turn northwards towards the Florida Panhandle while strenghthening. On September 1st, Hermine became a hurricane, and made landfall in Florida with 80mph winds. Hermine was a backdoor threat to SC, bringing gusty winds, heavy rain, onshore flow, and tornadoes. The immediate coast saw greater than 60mph gusts, and most locations saw gusts greater than 30mph. Unusually, rainfall was heaviest inland, and tapered off towards the ocean. Portions of Northern Colleton County saw up to 10" of rain, while the I-95 corridor received 3-6" of rain. The Beaufort area saw 4-5" and Charleston saw 1-3". Hermine brought a 2-3' storm surge, but this occured near low tide so the impact was negligible.

  • Tropical Storm Julia

Tropical Storm Julia formed over NE Florida (named while over land) on September 13th. Julia was an unexpected formation, and was forecast to quickly move inland. However, Julia drifted slowly NE towards the LowCountry. Julia remained just offshore, and brought rain impacts to the region. Scattered heavy rain fell across the LowCountry, highest over Charleston. While the I-95 corridor saw less than half an inch of rain, areas around (and east) of Charleston saw up to 6" of rain. 2-4" of rain fell along much of the coast. Wind gusts to 30mph occured along the coast, and some sustained winds that high likely occured in portions of Beaufort County.

  • Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew was a devastating category 5 hurricane that impacted much of the SE coast, Bahamas, Hispanoila, and southern Caribbean. Matthew was one of the most impactful storms to the LowCountry since Hugo (1989). Matthew was a late season storm, impacting the area in early October (unfortunately only a year after the 2015 flood). Matthew formed from a frankly behemoth tropical wave on September 28. Matthew passed through the Southern Antilles and into the Caribbean Sea as a strong tropical storm. Over the next two days, Matthew rapidly intensified into a category 5 with 165mph sustained winds. Matthew moved slowly in the Central Caribbean unttil October 4th, until landfall in Haiti just below Category 5 strength. While moving north across Haiti, Matthew caused incredible damage in the way of flooding and strong winds. However, Matthew weakened to a category three as it entered the Bahamas. After some reorganizing, Matthew moved towards Florida as a Category 4, before weakening to a 3 near Vero Beach. Matthew slowly weakened while scraping the coast and moving towards SC. On October 8th, the storm landfalled in Northern Charleston County as a Category one storm. Wind impacts in the LowCountry were exacerbated by heavy rainfall ahead of the highest winds. Peak gusts were along the coast. Stations at the mouth of the Savannah River saw 96mph gusts, and a 103mph gust occured in Winyah Bay. The entire coast saw greater than 80mph gusts, and all locations saw greater than 50mph gusts. Sustained winds of hurricane force grazed the coast, and most locations reached sustained winds of 40mph. Most of the Eastern LowCountry lost power by the morning of October 8th. For many, the strongest winds came on the backside of the storm at a time when many people were letting their guard down and stations were offline (It is very possible the highest winds were never recorded). Even with high wind impacts, rainfall from Matthew topped 17". All areas received more than 5" of rain, and much of Jasper and Beaufort Counties saw more than a foot of rain. Freshwater flooding was comparable to the 2015 floods in central portions of the state. Saltwater flooding from storm surge impacted the entire coastline. A surge of 5-8 feet inundated the sea islands and downtown Charleston. Charleston saw its 4th highest tide on record (at the time it was the third highest but it was topped by Irma in 2017).

2015

  • Tropical Storm Ana

On May 8, subtropical storm Ana formed SE of South Carolina from a remnant cold front. While moving slowly NW, Ana organized into a fully tropical system and began to strengthen. Movement was slow and uncertan, so tropical storm watches were issued for the Charleston area, but no tropical storm conditions impacted the area. On May 10, Ana made landfall in Myrtle Beach with 65mph winds, bringing winds of 20-30mph to the Northern LowCountry. There was no surge impact. Rainfall was highest in Berkeley and Charleston Counties. Much of the LowCountry saw no impact.

  • Hurricane Joaquin (Indirect)

Through the first five days of October, South Carolina saw one of its worst floods ever, with some areas seeing close to 30" of rainfall. Highest rainfall totals in the LowCountry were in Charleston County (27"), but the entire area saw at least 3-4" of rain (Lowest along the Savannah River). This flood event was caused by a slow moving upper level low (ULL) over North Florida, which pumped tropical moisture into SC. The ULL and Hurricane Joaquin were positioned in a way that allowed deep moisture to flow northward. While Joaquin is not responsible for the flood, it provided a source of deep tropical moisture. Joaquin impacted the central Bahamas as a Category 4 hurricane.

2014

  • Hurricane Arthur

 

2013

  • Tropical Storm Andrea

 

2012

  • Tropical Storm Beryl

 

  • Tropical Storm Debby

 

  • Hurricane Sandy

 

2011

  • Hurricane Irene

 

2010

  • None

2009

  • Hurricane Ida

 

2008

  • Tropical Storm Christobal

 

  • Tropical Storm Fay

 

  • Hurricane Hanna'

 

2007

  • Tropical Storm Barry

 

2006

  • Tropical Storm Alberto

 

  • Hurricane Ernesto

 

2005

  • Hurricane Ophelia

 

  • Tropical Storm Tammy

 

2004

  • Hurricane Alex

 

  • Tropical Storm Bonnie

 

  • Hurricane Charley

 

  • Hurricane Gaston

 

  • Hurricane Jeanne

 

2003

  • Tropical Depression Seven

 

  • Hurricane Isabel

 

2002

  • Hurricane Kyle

 

2001

  • None

2000

  • Hurricane Gordon

 

  • Tropical Storm Helene

 

1999

  • Hurricane Dennis

 

  • Hurricane Floyd

 

  • Hurricane Irene

 

1998

  • Hurricane Bonnie

 

  • Hurricane Earl

 

1997

  • None

1996

  • Tropical Storm Arthur

 

  • Hurricane Bertha

 

  • Hurricane Fran

 

  • Tropical Storm Josephine

 

1995

  • Hurricane Allison

 

  • Tropical Storm Jerry

 

1994

  • Tropical Depression Two

 

  • Tropical Storm Beryl

 

1993

  • None

1992

  • None

1991

  • Hurricane Bob

 

1990

  • Tropical Storm Marco

 

1989

  • Hurricane Hugo

 

1988

  • Tropical Storm Chris

 

1987

  • None

1986

  • Hurricane Charley

 

1985

  • Hurricane Bob

 

  • Tropical Storm Isabel

 

  • Hurricane Kate

 

1984

  • Hurricane Diana

 

  • Tropical Storm Isidore

 

1983

  • None

1982

  • Subtropical Storm One

 

1981

  • Hurricane Dennis

 

1980

  • None

1979

  • Tropical Depression One

 

  • Hurricane David

 

1978

  • None

1977

  • None

1976

  • Subtropical Storm One

 

  • Tropical Storm Dottie

 

  • Subtropical Storm Three

 

1975

  • None

1974

  • None

1973

  • None

1972

  • Subtropical Storm Alpha

 

  • Hurricane Agnes

 

1971

  • Tropical Depression Eight

 

  • Tropical Depression Heidi

 

1970

  • Hurricane Alma

 

1969

  • None

1968

  • Hurricane Abby

 

  • Hurricane Dolly

 

  • Hurricane Gladys

 

  • Tropical Depression Eleven

 

1967

  • None

1966

  • Hurricane Alma

 

1965

  • None

1964

  • Tropical Storm One

 

  • Hurricane Cleo

 

  • Hurricane Dora

 

  • Hurricane Isbell

 

1963

  • None

1962

  • None

1961

  • None

1960

  • Tropical Storm Brenda

On July 27, a tropical depression developed out of broad low pressure in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. On July 28, the name Brenda was given to the storm. Brenda remained a minimal tropical storm in the Gulf, before moving ashore north of Cedar Key, FL. Brenda tracked NE along the South Carolina coast as a moderate tropical storm with winds of 40-60mph. Wind impacts in the LowCountry were low, and tides were elevated 1-2 feet. Brenda dropped 1-6" of rain across the LowCountry (highest across Berkeley County). Sporadic power outages occured from downed limbs, but there was no considerable damage or fatalities in SC.

  • Hurricane Donna

Donna was a powerful Cape Verde hurricane that impacted most of the Eastern Seaboard and Northern Caribbean. Donna formed on August 30, and began its long track across the Atlantic. Donna made its closest approach to the LowCountry after turning north over Florida. On September 11, Donna passed ~100 miles offshore as a large Category Two hurricane. Hurricane warnings were issued for the storm on September 10. Donna's wind impacts were signifigant along the immediate coast, which downed many trees. Power outages were common across the region, and elevated tides led to coastal damage. Sustained winds ranged from 30-60mph. Rainfall of 3-5" was not signifigant, but crop losses were high. A strong tornado moved across Mount Pleasant, Charleston, and West Asheley. Ten people were injured and half a million dollars in damage occured.

1959

  • Hurricane Cindy

Cindy formed from the remnants of a cold front off the coast of South Carolina. On July 7, the name Cindy was given to the third storm of the season. Cindy initially moved NE along the frontal boundary, but turned WSW due to a ridge over the NE United States. Cindy peaked as a Category One hurricane with 75mph winds. The storm made landfall on July 9 in Northern Charleston County. It made landfall near peak intensity, but quickly weakened as it curved NW through the Midlands. Impacts were fairly low from Cindy, but thousands were ordered to evacuate from the barrier islands. Power outages were common across the LowCountry, and downed trees were the largest hazard. Storm surge was limited below 4 feet, and rainfall of 1-4" was beneficial. There was one death in Georgetown, SC.

  • Hurricane Gracie

Tropical Storm Gracie formed on September 22 from a robust tropical wave. If formed just north of the Greater Antilles and entered a favorable environment for strengthening over the SW Atlantic. Gracie became a Category One hurricane less than 24 hours later, and held intensity as it moved north. September 24-27, Gracie weakened to a tropical storm and meandered south of a growing area of high pressure. On September 27, the storm began to stenghten again as it moved westward towards Florida. While intensifying, Gracie began to turn NW aiming at South Carolina. On September 29, Gracie reached its peak of 140mph, and made landfall around the ACE basin with 130mph winds.Gracie became one of the strongest hurricanes to ever make landfall in South Carolina. The storm made landfall midday, near low tide, which limited a devastating storm surge for the Sea Islands and Charleston. Storm surge likley approached 12 feet just north of landfall, but was much lower south of landfall. An 8 foot surge was recorded in Charleston. Rainfall across the LowCountry was manageable (3"-8"). However, high rainfall rates led to numerous accounts of flash flooding across Colleton and Beaufort Counties. Unusually, Gracie's largest impact was its wind (surge and rainfall are often the most dangerous aspects of a storm). It is estimated that greater than 60% of the area lost power, and it was not restored for several weeks in Beaufort. Tree damage was extreme, and most roads were impassable or washed out. Beaufort recorded a wind gust of 138mph, 71mph winds were recorded in Charleston, and an estimated gust to 150mph occured on Edisto Island. Damage from the storm is estimated around 80 million USD (2020).

1958

  • Hurricane Helene

Category 4 Hurricane Helene made its closest approach to the LowCountry on September 27. The hurricane remained more than 100 miles away from the LowCountry, but tropical storm force winds occurred in Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, and Berkeley Counties. Charleston recorded sustained winds of 63mph. Damage across the LowCountry was minor (shingle damage, beach erosion, power outages). Rainfall was around an inch in Charleston County, but was much lower in the remainder of the region.

1957

  • Tropical Storm One

A weak, unnamed tropical storm crossed FL and GA on June 8 and 9. The center of the storm remained south of the LowCountry, but brought rainfall of 1-3". The highest rainfall occurred in Charleston, which was greater than three inches. The remains of the tropical storm formed a hurricane force low off the SC coast on October 10.

1956

  • Tropical Storm Ten

On October 16 and 17, a weak tropical (possibly subtropical) storm passed about 90 miles off the coast of the LowCountry. The tropical storm led to high seas off the coast and rainfall ~1".

1955

  • None

1954

  • Hurricane Hazel

Hurricane Hazel is one of three Category 4 storms to make landfall in this time period (Hurricane Hugo and Hurricane Gracie, 1959, the others).Hazel had winds of 130mph at landfall in North Myrtle Beach, SC. The storm had a 40 mile wide eye, and stayed intact across SE NC. Hazel severely damaged the Grand Strand and areas north to Carolina Beach, NC. Storm surge in the LowCountry was not damaging, as the region was on the southern side of the storm. In the southern LowCountry impacts were fairly low. There were moderate winds up to 45mph and heavy rain. The Charleston metro saw heavier rain and much higher winds. Hurricane force winds occurred in the Northern LowCountry (along the coast). Damage from Hazel was mostly along the Grand Strand and into SE NC.

1953

  • Tropical Storm Five

On September 1st, a weak tropical storm or tropical depression moved ashore around Savannah, GA. Light rainfall and gusty winds impacted the LowCountry. The system was unorganized and broad.

  • Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence peaked as a Category 3 storm in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm lasted only three days from formation to dissipation. On September 26 Florence made landfall near Panama City, FL with 80mph winds. Impacts to the LowCountry were mostly precipitation related. Rain totals were highest in Jasper and Beaufort Counties, where the remains of Florence passed closest. Most of the LowCountry saw 2-4" of rain, but some locations topped 7". A cold front interacting with Florence amplified precipitation across SC and GA. The extratropical remains of Florence passed off the SC coast with sustained winds of 40mph, which led to rough seas.

1952

  • Hurricane Able

Hurricane Able was a long track Category 2 hurricane lasting from August 18 to September 2. Able made landfall near Fripp Island, SC as a 105mph Category 2 storm. Beaufort was heavily damaged from the hurricane, and was isolated from the world for a number of hours. Winds gusted to 90mph around Beaufort, 63mph in Charleston, and 35mph in Savannah. Winds caused moderate damage in the form of property damage, downed telephone lines, and crop losses. Rainfall was fairly light, peaking near 5" in Northern Charleston County. Storm surge from Able wasn't extraordinary as the right eye-wall moved across the ACE Basin. Downtown Charleston reported moderate flooding. Two people were killed in SC indirectly. The hurricane moved ashore at night.

  • Tropical Storm Three

TS 3 was a weak disturbance that moved ashore near Myrtle Beach, SC 2 days prior to Hurricane Able. The storm was likely subtropical, because its western side was dry. Rainfall was light across the region, and winds were 20-30mph.

 

1951

  • None

1950

  • Hurricane Easy

Hurricane Easy was a Category 3 storm at its peak in the NE Gulf of Mexico. The remnants of Easy tracked across SW Georgia at their closest approach to the LowCountry. The only major impact of the storm was heavy rainfall. From September 5-9, up to 14 inches of rain likely fell across Jasper County, and greater than 5 inches of rainfall fell across most of the LowCountry. High surf was also generated on the beaches. Winds across the area were insignificant.

  • Hurricane King

Hurricane King was a Category 4 when it made landfall near Miami, FL. From October 18-20, up to an inch of rain fell across the LowCountry (higher further south). CHS recorded 0.14" of rain. Winds were gusty, and beach erosion occurred. King tracked along the spine of Florida before crossing SW Georgia.

  • Hurricane Love

Hurricane Love impacted the LowCountry only three days after Hurricane King. Love peaked as a Category 1 in the Gulf of Mexico. After landfall in the Big Bend of Florida, Love quickly weakened to a tropical depression on approach to the LowCountry. The center of the storm crossed into Allendale with maximum winds of 30mph. Impacts across the area were low