How Hot is Hot?

Seabrook Island Natural History Group (SINHG) has some insight about the high temperatures and heat wave that we have been experiencing.

The Wave

Weather, hot weather, is leading the news this summer (June was Earth’s hottest month ever recorded, according to the NOAA), and although for us it’s undoubtedly a Lowcountry summer out there, we’re fortunate in having a nearly constant sea breeze to moderate temperatures somewhat during this typically warmest month of the island year.

It’s been considerably hotter in past years on the island – near one hundred degrees back in 2015, for example. The highest temperature recorded to date in greater Charleston was 105 degrees on August 1, 1999, the hottest the city’s ever been since records started being kept in 1893. A close second was in June of 2021, at 102 degrees recorded at the airport.

Heat waves can be stubborn. Formed when a high pressure system forces warm air closer to the ground, that same system pushes other, potentially cooler systems aside until too much static charge builds between the systems and thunderstorms develop. And if that trapped warmer air continues to heat up for too long, the dreaded “heat dome” forms that can last for weeks at a time. So far, though, we’re experiencing mostly average temperatures for the island thanks to coastal winds.

Acclimating to southern heat spells can be challenging, sometimes taking more than week of exposure to adjust. We all know, too, to keep outdoor activity to morning and early evening hours (just like our wildlife does) to avoid the signs of pending hyperthermia – profuse sweating , nausea and red, sensitive skin. And, of course, stay hydrated, even if you don’t feel thirsty while you’re outdoors, especially if you’re jogging or otherwise engaging in physical activity. Make it a cool summer!

Seabrook Island Natural History Group explores the ecology, history, and culture of the Carolina Lowcountry. For more information about SINHG, please go to

-Submitted by Seabrook Island Natural History Group

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