National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Myrtle Beach, SC had never had a long, systematic snowfall record.  After examining snowfall measurements from FAA and U.S. Air Force records at the Myrtle Beach airport, local NWS cooperative observer records at various locations around Myrtle Beach, and unofficial reports from newspapers and the public, we have been able to thread together an unofficial snowfall climatology for Myrtle Beach dating back to 1940.  Although not official in a legal sense, this snowfall record helps fill a gap in our understanding of the frequency and severity of wintry weather in South Carolina.

Snow is an infrequent occurrence along the South Carolina coast. The combination of cold air and moisture is difficult to achieve since winds bringing moisture in from the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico are almost always bringing warmth in as well.  Of the snowfall events in Myrtle Beach's history one stands out as particularly severe; December 22-24, 1989 brought an immense snowstorm to the coastal Southeast including 14 inches in Myrtle Beach.  Other significant snowstorms include 7 inches on March 24-25, 1983, and 9 inches on February 9-11, 1973.

 

Begin Date

Ending Date

Snowfall

 

Basic Snowfall Statistics for Myrtle Beach, SC since 1940

1/24/1940

1/26/1940

0.1

 

Total Snowfall (inches)

76.9

 

2/25/1942

2/25/1942

3.9

 

Annual Mean Snowfall (in.)

1.0

 

12/15/1943

12/15/1943

6.0

 

Standard Deviation per event

3.0

 

12/11/1957

12/11/1957

0.4

 

Median Snowstorm Total (in.)

1.0

 

2/13/1958

2/14/1958

1.0

 

Mode (inches)

1.0

 

12/11/1958

12/11/1958

0.1

   

3/11/1960

3/11/1960

1.0

 

Total Snowfall by Decade (inches)

 

2/17/1963

2/17/1963

1.4

 

1940s:    10.0

1990s:   1.0

 

2/26/1963

2/27/1963

1.0

 

1950s:   1.5

2000s:   6.5

 

1/31/1965

1/31/1965

0.4

 

1960s:   5.5

2010s:   5.0

 

1/27/1966

1/27/1966

0.1

 

1970s:   12.9

 

 

1/25/1968

1/25/1968

0.2

 

1980s:   34.5

 

 

2/22/1968

2/25/1968

1.4

   

1/23/1970

1/24/1970

0.4

   

2/9/1973

2/11/1973

9.0

 

Earliest Measurable Snow:

December 11, 1958

1/31/1977

1/31/1977

0.5

 

Latest Measurable Snow:

March 25, 1983

2/18/1979

2/19/1979

3.0

   

3/2/1980

3/3/1980

5.0

 

Measurable Snowfall Events Since 1940

12/27/1980

12/27/1980

1.0

 

Month

# of events

 

3/24/1983

3/25/1983

7.0

 

January

14

  42% of all events

1/27/1986

1/27/1986

0.3

 

February

10

  30% of all events

1/26/1987

1/27/1987

0.2

 

March

3

  9% of all events

1/15/1988

1/15/1988

5.0

 

April

0

  0 % of all events

2/23/1989

2/24/1989

2.0

 

November

0

  0 % of all events

12/22/1989

12/24/1989

14.0

 

December

6

  18% of all events

1/18/1992

1/19/1992

1.0

   

1/25/2000

1/25/2000

4.0

   

1/2/2002

1/3/2002

2.0

 

Snowstorm Historic Frequency Analysis

1/23/2003

1/23/2003

0.5

 

Snowstorm Amount

≥ 0.1"

≥ 1"

≥ 3"

≥ 6"

≥ 12"

2/12/2010

2/13/2010

3.5

 

# of events since 1940

33

19

10

4

1

12/26/2010

12/26/2010

0.5

 

Mean # of events per year

0.44

0.25

0.13

0.05

0.01

2/16/2013

2/16/2013

0.5

 

Mean return interval (years)

2.3

3.9

7.5

19

75

1/28/2014

1/29/2014

0.5

             
                     

Research and Page Author: Tim Armstrong
Page Created: April 11, 2015
Last Updated: April 11, 2015