Recently I was talking with a friend who lives down in Florida. He was griping about hurricanes and being at risk for them, living on the eastern
coast of Florida. Then he said something:
"You're so lucky to live where you do, being all nice and safe up there in South Carolina with nothing to bother you!"
I was speechless for a minute. Then I told him to shut up, sit down, and listen to me. I then proceeded to lecture him about where I live, and how
"safe" and "comfy" it is!
Being that we're a subtropical climate here in South Carolina, affords us to experience some rather large temperature swings. During the summer, it
can get over 100 deg F. Living quite far from the coast, I don't get that nice "sea breeze" to help cool things off. While there are plenty of
other places in the US that get temperatures quite a bit higher (places in the south west), being "subtropical" means there is something else that
gets added to those hot temps: humidity.
The Gulf of Mexico sends warm, MOIST air up through the southeastern part of the US. We have summer days here where the temperature gets up to say,
101 deg F.......but with 80% humidity, making heat indexes of 115 deg F or more. Worse: because the air is saturated with moisture already, our bodies
natural cooling system of having sweat evaporate off our skin, doesn't work too well.
Heat exhaustion or heat stroke are quite common here where I live, even for us natives who are suppose to be "used to it". You have to be careful,
even with light activity during the heat of the day.
However, now comes winter. While the average temps during the day in winter tend to be above freezing, that doesn't stop us from having the
temperatures here dip into the teens or even single digits during the night. While people up north might laugh at that, I invite y'all to come on
down here and experience "The Swings", which is when we have temps soar into the high 80's or 90's during the day....and then scream down into the
20's or less that night...only to get hot again the next day.
Let's see how your body likes that. Most us down here end up with colds or the sniffles all during those times!
We don't get a lot of snow here where I live. Most I've ever seen in 8 inches. Not that big of a deal compared to other parts of the US, right?
But then, because we don't get snow that often, guess what happens when we do? We end up with some of the worst idiots on the roads that you have
ever seen. There is NO snow clearing vehicles here (not really needed), and yet people who are not used to driving in snow, seem to feel a great need
to go out and try to drive on these snow covered roads.....and then act all surprised when they have a wreck.
I know how to drive on snow just fine. But I don't get in my car during those times, because of all the others out there that have no idea how.
They're a menace and a danger to all those around them!
THESE are what we get more of here during the winter. Temperatures dip cold enough so that the surfaces things (trees, cars, roads, power lines, etc)
are below freezing, and the rain that falls freezes on to it, building up a layer of ice.
The storms are very damaging, taking out trees and power lines. If you loose power, it could be for just a day, or, as in my case, up to a week or
Most who think of tornadoes think of the Mid West, with super cell thunder storms producing EF4 and EF5 tornadoes that wipe whole cites from the map.
That's "Tornado Ally" for you.
However, what a lot of people do not know is that I live in Dixie Alley
Dixie Alley, goes from the Mississippi Valley area and extends east into South Carolina. We do not get as many tornadoes on the average compared to
Tornado Alley, but, Dixie Alley has more deaths from tornadoes than Tornado Alley.
There is a good reason for this: higher population density, so more chance for tornadoes to hit small towns or cities. Mobile homes are used a lot
here. But what REALLY makes the tornadoes here dangerous is: You rarely see them coming. Due to the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, most of the
tornadoes we get are "rain wrapped", meaning they are cloaked in heavy rains, so you do not see them easily. We also have a LOT of forests down
here. Very tall pine, oak and hickory trees that block off the horizons. For most of us, if we're not paying attention to weather alerts, we won't
know that there is a tornado on it's way until it actually hits.
That was the case with me back in 2006 when two EF2 tornadoes moved through here where I live. I was home with my son Josh, who was 4 at the time. I
was not paying attention to the weather, other than it was very windy and rainy. I heard a shift in the wind, looked out the window and saw the 60
foot pine trees trying to lean over and stay that way. Then I heard it. It sounds like a roaring sound that gets louder and louder.
I live in a double wide mobile home. smart thing is to get out and lay in a ditch if you can. We didn't have time. I snatched my son, tossed him
under my wife's computer desk, threw a blanket over him, then crouched in front of the desk, when the tornado hit.
We were lucky. It had not touched down yet. However, the entire house was shaking and shimming and I just knew the roof was going to come off.
Fortunately the only real damage my house took was some shingles missing, and one of my living room windows popped out. However, I had snapped pine
trees and up rooted pine trees all over the place.
That was the 2nd time a tornado had passed through there. Waiting on a third one.
As most of you should know, hurricanes are very dangerous. For most, it's the storm surge that kills most people. Living far enough away from the
coast of South Carolina, I don't have to worry about storm surges. However, due to the size of hurricanes, I DO have to worry about the winds, micro
bursts and tornadoes that are spawned inside hurricanes.
Hurricane Hugo that hit Charleston in 1989 had far reaching affects, even up here where I live now.
It's just a fact of life: You live in a east coast state, or a Gulf of Mexico state, you get hurricanes.