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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:24 am
Posts: 2957
Location: Myrtle Beach
I am making this message a sticky.

I can't tell you the number of times during the summer months that I am in and out of showers all day. When it rains in one part of the Grand Strand, the sun is usually shining somewhere nearby.

The message below is from Leo (traderboynh). It was posted the day before the database was updated. I captured it and am re-posting it here.
~~~~~~~~~~
From Leo:

We really need to start an FAQ file for questions that repeatedly come up. The question about the forecasts would have to be near the top because it comes up just about every other week in the summer.

If you look at the forecast for 90% of the days in the summer, you'll see the forecasters call for the CHANCE of thunderstorms, mostly in the afternoon. The degree to which they're certain is generally displayed as a percentage. So if they say 20% chance of showers, that means that someone somewhere WILL get rained on but there's only a 20% chance it'll be you.

The fact of the matter is that it may rain in one part of the city, and in another location not far away it may not rain a drop. Case in point: On Monday this week, we saw it "rain" for literally 10 seconds. This was in the form of big drops that dried up nearly as soon as they hit the ground. We went for a walk about 10 minutes later and alongside the fourth house from us, you could see a rough line on the pavement of where the rain fell and where it didn't. From that point west, it was clear they got enough rain to drench the area and form puddles. That's the area in a microcosm. Surfside could get POUNDED by a storm that lasts 30 minutes while Carolina Forest has sunny skies (because the Baby Jesus loves Carolina Forest more than Surfside).

The bottom line to vacationers is that you absolutely cannot get worked up over a forecast like you see on weather.com or weatherunderground.com. Even though Katie says it's rained a bit this week, it's all relative. Katie starts sketching out architectural proof-of-concept drawings for an ark as soon as she sees more than two drops hit the ground. Frankly, it hasn't rained much at all. We had about a 5 minute shower on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 PM. Then we got no rain on Monday, about 3 hours of showers from 3:30 to 6:30 PM on Tuesday, then another 90 minutes of rain around the same time yesterday, and that's been it. Each day it dawns sunny and hot and stays that way either all day or until about 3:00 PM. Today there is no rain anywhere on radar. The forecast calls for a 30% chance of rain. Again, it may rain, it may not. The point is that even if it does it won't really affect you in any meaningful way.

We've been moved in for 6 weeks. We've had 1 day (ONE) when it was mildly overcast in the morning. We have not had a single day of all-day rain or even all-day clouds. We've not had a low pressure area hover over us, nor have we had more than 3 consecutive hours of rain. Of the 44 days or so we've been here, it's probably only rained at all on 14 of them.

I'd say this was the site of the original Garden of Eden but I haven't secured archaeological proof yet. I'm working on it, though.
_________________
--Leo


Just to illustrate the unpredictability of the weather in Myrtle Beach, I've taken screen shots of the Doppler radar about 30 minutes apart.

In the first shot you can see what it's looked like pretty much all day in the area. There is NOTHING on the radar. The green you see around Wilmington is reflective interference because the Doppler tower is located directly in Wilmington (identified by the uncircled crosshairs). Myrtle Beach proper is the "target" of my search and is displayed as the circled crosshair just above Georgetown. This shot was taken at 2:04 PM. If you were to look outside, you'd see nothing but blue skies and a few puffy clouds.

In the second shot taken a mere 30 minutes later, you see what happens on a typical hot and humid afternoon in South Carolina -- frustrated women with broken message boards drink themselves into a stupor (Patrish), old men try and fail to validate their manhood on a golf course (Ron), and storms tend to form spontaneously in atmospheric pockets conducive to their spawning. It's nearly impossible to predict ahead of time where these storms will form so forecasters can't say with any certainty who will get hit and who won't. Also, the "edges" of these storms can be very sharp, meaning that people in northern Georgetown may get hammered while folks a quarter mile away to the north will only hear the screaming of the lightning victims yet see no rain at all.

What makes these storms even more difficult to predict is that on some days they will form and march northeast or due east and dissipate over time, while on other days they keep forming and reforming or strengthen in intensity so you'll get 30 minutes of hell, then a respite for an hour, and then another wave of attack, a cycle that may repeat itself into the wee hours of the morning.

As I said earlier, so far this summer we've escaped most of these storms. When we do get an occasional blast, it never seems to last very long nor are they often repeated later in the evening. Of course I say that NOW, but when the 5,000 of you who are arriving here for that early week in August are swept up in flood waters and washed out to the Grand Banks fishing grounds off the coast of Labrador, don't blame me. I'm just the messenger.
_________________
--Leo

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