The Myrtle Beach Area, also known as South Carolinas Grand Strand, is one of the nation’s most popular vacation destinations and both location and climate are among the key reasons. Situated on the Atlantic Coast near the warm Gulf Stream, Myrtle Beach enjoys a relatively temperate climate with about 2/3rds of the possible annual sunshine. The warm Atlantic waters are comfortable for swimming (over 70°F) from late April to October. The average air temperature over the year is a pleasant 64°F. The climate is especially attractive during the spring and fall when the temperatures are ideal, the ocean dependably warm and the sunshine most abundant.
Winters are generally mild with daytime temperatures averaging well over 50°F. Cold spells are usually modified by the time they reach the South Carolina coast and only rarely do temperatures drop below 20°F. On average about 42 days per year have frost or freezing temperatures. The average date of the first freeze is in early December and the last freeze on average is in late February. Usually after a cold spell, temperatures rebound quickly, and there are many mild winter days with high temperatures in the 60s or higher.
Rain in winter is usually associated with developing coastal storms or passing fronts and occurs on average once every 3 to 4 days. Snow is rare and usually in the form of passing snow flurries although occasionally strong coastal storms in a cold winter can bring some accumulating snows. Precipitation in winter is enhanced during El Nino events and diminished somewhat during La Nina winters, so plan accordingly. In between storms, sunshine and dry weather prevails in winter. On average, Myrtle Beach receives about 60% of the possible sunshine in winter. Prevailing winds in winter are from the north.
After blustery and sometimes chilly weather in March, springs bring a very rapid warm-up. Myrtle Beach is a great place to get a jump-start on summer as early as April. In April, the average high has already risen to the mid 70s and ocean temperatures have warmed to the upper 60s. By May, Myrtle Beach’s average daily maximum temperatures top 80°F and the ocean has warmed to the low 70s. Spring storms bring days that threaten heavy thunderstorms, which sometimes can be severe. The storms are brief though and sunny days inevitably follow. In fact, the average percentage of possible sunshine increases to nearly 70 percent during the spring. Prevailing winds in spring swing around to the south.
Summer is the wettest season with the number of days with rain increasing to almost 1 every 2 or 3 days. But the rain comes in the form of showers, mostly of the brief afternoon variety. There is still nearly 70 percent of the possible sunshine in summer. Average temperatures warm to the low 90s and overnight lows average in the low 70s. Ocean water temperatures become quite warm in summer, reaching the mid 80s in July. Prevailing winds continue from the south.
Tropical storms threaten the coastal regions in summer and the early fall. They can bring heavy rains and winds. The threats increase dramatically during La Nina events.
After the tropical threat subsides, falls bring fine weather with many “Indian Summer” days. In fact the fall months of October and November are ideal months for a “Grand Strand last stand”. October and November are the driest months in Myrtle Beach. Rain falls on less than 1 of every 5 days with more than 60% of the possible sunshine. In October, daily maximum temperatures still are well up in the 70s with ocean temperatures in the still warm low 70s. In November, the high temperatures still average 69°F although the ocean has cooled to the low 60s. Prevailing winds again turn northerly.
So if you have not yet had your fill of sun and fun or a late season golf vacation is what you need, Myrtle Beach should be high on your list of resort options in the fall.
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