When is Hurricane Season In South Carolina? Peak Timing and Earliest Hurricane on Record

Written by Colby Maxwell
Updated: May 15, 2023
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Hurricane season can be dangerous in many places across the south, but when does it happen? Today, we will look at the hurricane season in South Carolina and learn all we can about it, plus the history of hurricanes in the region. Whether you are traveling to South Carolina this summer or live in the state yourself, this information is vital to know!

When is Hurricane Season in South Carolina?

Hurricane from space. Satellite view. Super typhoon over the ocean. The eye of the hurricane. View from outer space. Some elements of this image furnished by NASA

June to November is the primary hurricane season in South Carolina.

©Vikks/Shutterstock.com

Hurricane season in South Carolina runs from June 1 to November 30 each year, but the peak months for hurricane activity are August and September.

South Carolina is one of the most hurricane-prone states in the lower 48, with 31 hurricanes hitting the state since 1851. The most likely area for a hurricane to make landfall in South Carolina is Charleston County, which has 90 miles of coastline.

The earliest hurricane to hit South Carolina on record was Hurricane Alex, which made landfall near McClellanville on June 3, 2022, as a Category 2 storm. The strongest hurricane to hit South Carolina on record was Hurricane Hugo, which made landfall near Sullivan’s Island on September 22, 1989, as a Category 4 storm, causing wind gusts up to 100 mph in cities as far inland as Columbia.

Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause severe damage and disruption to South Carolina’s residents, infrastructure, and environment. While the winds are dangerous, the flooding and associated damage are the most deadly and destructive hazards associated with hurricanes, especially in regions where flooding is hard to avoid or escape.

What is Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season is a period of time when tropical cyclones, such as tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes, are most likely to form and hit the coastal regions of the United States and other countries.

There are different hurricane seasons for different regions of the world. The Atlantic hurricane season impacts the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the greater Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 each year, with the peak season being September 10, with most storms forming between the middle of August and the middle of October.

Hurricane season is important because hurricanes and tropical storms can cause severe damage and even impact travel to regions, requiring people to plan ahead.

How Many Hurricanes Happen in South Carolina Each Year?

Hurricane Ike

A serious hurricane hits South Carolina about once every seven years, although the rain and wind from storms further away are a regular occurrence.

©forestpath/Shutterstock.com

The number of hurricanes that happen in South Carolina each year varies depending on the season’s activity and the storm’s track. However, on average, South Carolina is hit by a hurricane once every seven years.

Since 1851, 31 hurricanes have made landfall in South Carolina, with six of them being major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). The most recent hurricane to hit South Carolina was Hurricane Dorian in 2019, which caused flooding and power outages along the coast.

The most likely area for a hurricane to make landfall in South Carolina is Charleston County, which has 90 miles of coastline and has been hit by 17 hurricanes since 1851. The strongest hurricane to hit South Carolina on record was Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which made landfall near Sullivan’s Island as a Category 4 storm, causing widespread damage and devastation.

The Worst Hurricanes to Ever Hit South Carolina

  • Hurricane Hugo (September 1989): This Category 4 storm was the most powerful and damaging hurricane to hit South Carolina in modern history. It made landfall near Sullivan’s Island with 138 mph winds and caused damage across the coast and areas inland. It killed 27 people in South Carolina and caused more than $7 billion in damage.
  • Hurricane Gracie (September 1959): This Category 4 storm made landfall near Beaufort with 140 mph winds. It killed 22 people in South Carolina and caused more than $14 million in damage.
  • Hurricane Hazel (October 1954): This Category 4 storm made landfall near Little River with 130 mph winds and caused extensive damage along the Grand Strand and the Pee Dee region. It killed 19 people in South Carolina and caused more than $27 million in damage.
  • Hurricane Matthew (October 2016): This Category 1 storm skirted along the coast of South Carolina with 75 mph winds and caused widespread flooding, power outages, and beach erosion. It killed four people in South Carolina and caused more than $2 billion in damage.
  • Hurricane Florence (September 2018): This Category 1 storm made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, with 90 mph winds and caused flooding in South Carolina, especially in the Pee Dee region. It killed nine people in South Carolina and caused more than $5 billion in damage.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Vikks/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

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