Weather service: High heat likely to stick around Beaufort County

cconley@islandpacket.comJuly 27, 2012 

High heat and humidity that have settled over much of the Southeast and toppled a decades-old record in Charleston likely won't break anytime soon.

In fact, South Carolina could be in for above-average heat well into the fall, according to the National Weather Service in Charleston.

"It looks like it's probably going to be above-normal for quite a bit longer," said meteorologist Jonathan Lamb.

Heat advisories were in place across the region Friday as temperatures soared to 95 degrees in Beaufort and at least 93 degrees in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The heat index, which gauges how hot it feels with humidity factored in, was 107 on Friday on Hilton Head and 109 in Beaufort.

There has been little relief from the heat this week, even at night.

Downtown Charleston, for instance, set a new record Thursday night for the highest low temperature, when it dipped to just 82 degrees. The previous record, set in 1940, was 81 degrees.

The Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Division reported two heat-related emergency calls Thursday and one on Friday, spokeswoman Joheida Fister said. She urged people who planned to be outside to drink lots of water.

Bluffton Township Fire District Capt. Randy Hunter said his department had not seen an increase in heat-related issues.

"It's hot enough now that people don't want to be out. They keep their activities to mornings and evenings," he said.

Although temperatures will drop some in the next few days, forecasters expect them to remain above 90 for at least the next week. What's more, Lamb said, weather models that look ahead three months predict a 40 to 50 percent chance of above-average heat through October.

Doug Berry, a meteorologist at the weather service office in Charleston, says Beaufort County has a relatively low chance of rain next week.

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