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Southern comfort

Nice year-round weather makes life here exceptional.

Publisher Lori Goodridge-Cribb loves enjoying the weather and the company of others on her back deck. Although the forecast this time of year often predicts rain, it’s typically localized showers that pass quickly. Even when rain is projected, it won’t necessarily rain where you are, and the weather is frequently sunny for the rest of the day.

I’ll never forget my first evacuation in 1989. It was 3 a.m., pitch-black and raining as I hastily loaded two kids, two cats, my mom (who had just flown in from Ohio to visit) and as many irreplaceable items as I could fit into my brown minivan and made tracks for Columbia. The rest of our belongings were left behind, covered in green trash bags as Hurricane Hugo loomed. 

Will we ever see our home again? Will the roof blow off? Will we flood? All unsettling questions you ask yourself while stuck in traffic on the backroads of rural South Carolina. 

If you’ve lived here a few years, I’m guessing you’ve had a similar nerve-wracking experience. I’m also guessing you’ve experienced a number of perfect beach days, spectacular sunsets and relaxing bike rides in the middle of winter.

This issue examines all aspects of Lowcountry weather and what makes it unique — the good, the bad and the extreme. With Atlantic hurricane season upon us (June 1-November 30), the timing is perfect. 

Learn more about local thunderstorms, sea breezes, floods, wind storms, tropical storms, sea fog, waterspouts, rip currents, tornadoes, hurricanes — even a remote risk of a tsunami, thanks to a friction point offshore. 

Determine sources to trust for local weather information (spoiler alert: it’s not Facebook) and research emergency response plans. Meet local storm chasers and meteorologists, admire weather-inspired art and books and uncover the history of our stormy past. 

Ever wonder how the weather affects fishing? Local captains sound off. Have a friend or relative who can sense weather changes? Discover the science behind the “my knee says it’s going to rain” phenomenon. You’ll also find tips for braving the elements and calming nervous pets when it’s raining cats and dogs. 

Fun rainy-day activities, DIY weather instruments, cool weather apps — you’ll find all of that and more inside this weathered issue of LOCAL Life. May this hurricane season be an uneventful one!

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“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” -John Ruskin, writer

Old-fashioned forecasting 

Long before smartphones started tapping into real-time radar, locals based forecasts on observations of nature. Here are a few old-fashioned weather phrases:  

  • Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.
  • If birds fly low, expect rain and a blow. 
  • The higher the clouds, the finer the weather. 
  • When clouds appear like towers, the Earth is refreshed by frequent showers.
  • Rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning.
  • Ring around the moon? Rain real soon.
  • Rain foretold, long last. Short notice, soon will pass.
  • When the dew is on the grass, rain will never come to pass.
  • When grass is dry at morning light, look for rain before the night.