South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. On average, July is the hottest month of the year while January has the lowest temperatures. On average, between 40 inches to 80 inches of precipitation falls every year across the state. South Carolina is prone to thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Snow is extremely rare, although a few big storms recently caused snowfall in the northern region of the state. If you're planning a trip to South Carolina, you'll want to know what weather to expect and what to pack, no matter what time of the year you're visiting.
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Although summer is incredibly hot, winter is a good time to visit thanks to its reasonable weather—especially compared to the northern East Coast states. Coastal areas have very mild winters with high temperatures averaging about 60 degrees and overnight lows close to 38 degrees. Further inland, temperatures average between 50 degrees during the day and 32 degrees at night. If you are traveling during December, January, or February, you'll want to bring long pants and a lightweight, waterproof jacket in case it rains. While it is rare if a storm is expected to cause snow, make sure to pack a hat, gloves, and a heavier winter coat.
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Spring is one of the best times to visit South Carolina. The weather is warm, the flowers are blooming, and many attractions open up from the slow wintertime. The only downside is that tornadoes happen mostly in the spring with a secondary peak in November. South Carolina is vulnerable to tornadoes, and the state averages around 14 tornadoes annually. There have been no F-5 tornadoes on record but over a dozen F-4 tornadoes have occurred in many counties in South Carolina. In March, temperatures average between the 50s and 60s, whereas in April, temperatures are likely to reach the 70s. May borders on summer weather with temperatures in the 70s and 80s.
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Temperatures in the summer are usually steady, averaging a humid 90 degrees with lots of sunshine in June and July. Hail and damaging winds often occur in summertime thunderstorms, particularly in August, which is the rainiest month. Tropical cyclones and afternoon thunderstorms, due to hot and humid conditions, contribute to precipitation during the late summer and early fall months. Tornadoes are very uncommon in the summer unless a tropical cyclone is in the area. Make sure to pack lots of sunscreen, and an umbrella in August.
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Fall is another fantastic season to travel to South Carolina as the temperatures hover in the high 70s. Although the hurricane season is from June through November, the peak time is from early August to early October when tropical cyclone frequency is highest. Major hurricanes can impact the Palmetto state, though there are no category 5 impacts on record. You'll also find many festivals happening in the state, and in Charleston, during the autumn. Don't miss the LowCountry Jazz Festivals, Taste of Charleston, and Charleston International Film Festival.