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Hang on to your hats, Heritage-goers! Severe weather expected Friday on Hilton Head

How Sea Pines residents get to know the PGA Tour pros - and might even score a kiss

If the weather turns bad on Friday, the PGA Tour pros will turn to Sea Pines residents for safety. Here's how the "safe house" owners have gotten up close and personal with the golfers in years past - and how one woman even scored a kiss.
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If the weather turns bad on Friday, the PGA Tour pros will turn to Sea Pines residents for safety. Here's how the "safe house" owners have gotten up close and personal with the golfers in years past - and how one woman even scored a kiss.

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Whether you find yourself at RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing golf tournament this weekend or elsewhere on Hilton Head Island, you’ll probably want to swap your floppy hat for an umbrella.

The National Weather Service in Charleston is predicting an “organized line of thunderstorms” passing over Hilton Head Island and Beaufort County on Friday evening between 3 and 9 p.m., according to Neil Dixon, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

“That’s an environment that could result in anything from hail, to damaging winds, to even tornadoes,” Dixon said Wednesday.

The string of storms will be accompanied by a cold front that brings temperatures down to the mid 60s and winds from the south expected to be 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph, he said.

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National Weather Service in Charleston.

That’s about all the set-up you need to take precautions if you’re attending the PGA Tour tournament.

PGA Tour officials will be the ones to make the call to suspend play if necessary on the Harbour Town Golf Links, according to Angela McSwain, the marketing and communications director for the Heritage Classic Foundation.

She said tournament-goers can bring umbrellas to the course, and to “pay attention to the weather and plan accordingly.”

Amid intermittent rain showers, Shannon Kanniard, with Ohio-based Sports America, installed plastic walls for luxury booths in 2018 near Heritage Lawn with Harbour Town’s signature lighthouse rising in the background. Drew Martin dmartin@islandpacket

While you’re making plans for the weekend, here’s the full forecast:

Friday, April 19

The second round of golf on Friday will have its challenges, Nixon said. The morning is likely to be overcast with highs in the mid- to upper-60s and scattered showers.

In the afternoon, the line of thunderstorms are likely to bring rain and nasty conditions into the evening.

The storm system also will bring an increased risk of rip currents and coastal flooding, Nixon said.

On the beach, five-foot waves could be breaking as the evening tides come in, he said.

In 2007, engineers added large rocks to the barrier along the 18th green of Harbour Town Golf Links as an emergency measure to prevent erosion. Work on a permanent solution was scheduled to begin last summer, but was delayed until this year. When complete, this area will be covered, sloped and planted with marsh grasses.

Saturday, April 20

The day following the thunderstorms will be drier, Nixon said, with highs just below 70 degrees.

It’ll be mostly sunny throughout the third round of play at the PGA Tour golf tournament.

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The 18th fairway at the Harbour Town Golf Links. Staff file

Sunday, April 21

Nixon said it’ll be a “picture perfect” Easter Sunday this year, with highs in the mid-70s and mostly sunny skies.

Winds will be mild on Sunday — under 10 mph — so that may be the day to break out the floppy hat after all.

The Easter sunrise service on the beach led by First Baptist Church is one of Hilton Head Island’s oldest traditions. Courtesy First Baptist Church of Hilton Head

What about the golf tournament?

Dixon said PGA Tour officials are in contact with National Weather Service forecasters, and McSwain added that any changes to the tournament’s schedule will be announced on video boards on the course and the tournament website.

Umbrellas cover spectators in the early stages of the rainy final round of the 2015 RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. Staff photo

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Katherine Kokal moved to South Carolina in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri and loves everything about the Lowcountry that isn’t a Palmetto Bug. She has won South Carolina Press Association awards for in-depth and government beat reporting. On the weekends, you can find Kati doing yoga and hiking Pinckney Island.