Flooding and heat are no stranger to the Lowcountry. In fact they happen often enough that we can call them familiar, if unwanted, residents alongside us. And in 2019 they made their presence known a record number of times.
Charleston saw more coastal flood events than any other year on record- 89 times the gauge recorded 7.0′ (the point in which minor flooding begins) or higher. This absolutely smashes the previous record of 58 instances. Unfortunately this pattern will continue as coastal flood events are on the rise- from 2000-2009 Charleston saw roughly 21 events per year, while this previous decade that ended earlier this week saw nearly 42 events per year. There is some variability as the number of instances of coastal flooding did go down inbetween the previous record set in 2015 but the overall trend does not lie- Charleston is flooding more.
Our record heat, mainly in May, also netted 2019 a spot in the top 5 warmest years on record both downtown and at the airport. Worse heat in Savannah made 2019 climb to #1. This marks the 4th consecutive year that our annual temperatures made it into the top 5 warmest years on record. This trend does not show any signs of stopping either, both locally and globally.
A big thanks to the Charleston National Weather Service for crunching these numbers.
Storm Team 2 Meteorologist David Dickson