You might hear a collective sigh of relief across the Palmetto State this weekend. A cold - or maybe we should call it “not as hot” - front will finally bring an end to the historic heat wave that has scorched South Carolina.
An unusually strong area of high pressure has been to blame for the soaring temperatures. Under this dome of sinking air, clouds and showers have been suppressed and the atmosphere kept broiling each day. Upper-level winds are shifting Friday, which will weaken the area of high pressure and finally allow a front to approach. A northwest wind behind the front will send in a new air mass that is slightly cooler by Saturday, reducing high temperatures by 5 to 10 degrees from where they were during the week.
22 daily high temperature records have been tied or broken across the state since May 24. All-time high temperatures for the month of May have also been set in Charleston and Columbia.
In addition to the heat, a moderate drought has developed across the South Carolina Low Country and Pee Dee regions where there's a 30-day rainfall deficit of 2 to 4 inches. A few strong thunderstorms will mark the arrival of the front Friday afternoon, but this will not be a widespread rain event.
A second cold front is forecast to sweep across South Carolina Monday, signaling a larger change in the weather pattern that will bring even cooler temperatures into the region. In fact, long range forecast data suggests temperatures will be near or below the seasonal averages early next week.
Meteorologist Megan Borowski contributed to this report.