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Southern AER

A Quarterly Activity Bulletin of The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources-Southeast Regional Climate Center
Summer 1996
Volume 2, No. 2


One meteorological event that is often overlooked is drought. Drought is defined as a period of time with less-than-normal rainfall. No region, including the southeast United States, is immune to the possibility of drought. Drought can have an adverse affect on the environment as well as communities. When rainfall is less than normal, there is less water to maintain normal soil moisture, stream flows, reservoir levels, and to recharge ground water. Water quality often decreases as water quantity decreases. Drought may affect the ability of a community to supply safe, clean, ample water to its residents, businesses, and industries.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources-Water Resources Division (SCDNR-WRD) has developed the Drought Response Program to monitor drought conditions in South Carolina and coordinate the state's response. There are six Drought Management Areas (DMA) located throughout the state - the Northwest, North Central, Northeast, West Central, Central, and Southern.

The SCDNR-WRD routinely monitors climatological and other drought-related variables. These variables include temperature, precipitation, runoff, stream flows, groundwater levels, soil moisture, and other drought data. The four levels of drought severity are incipient, moderate, severe, and extreme. The Drought Response Program can be found on the World Wide Web at:

This site contains information about the DMAs, current drought indices, weekly status reports, and, materials on water conservation. For more information, please contact:

Hope Mizzell
SC Department of Natural Resources
Water Resources Division
1201 Main St., Suite 1100
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone (803) 737-0800

Hot Summer Days


The summer season can be the most exciting and active season of all; however, the high temperatures common to the southeast United States can be dangerous. The sun plays an important role in our weather. It is the driving force behind all weather on earth. In the activity below we will look at the summer season and study reasons why the Southeast has such warm summertime temperatures.

Definitions and Background The Earth has a natural 23.5 degrees tilt of its axis that points the earth toward and away from the sun depending on where it is in its revolution around the sun.
Lines of Latitude are imaginary lines that run parallel north and south of the earth's equator.
The Bermuda High is a subtropical high pressure that exists over the Atlantic Ocean off the southeast United States coast during the summer. It influences summers by helping to provide warm, humid air to the Southeast.
Relative Humidity is defined as the amount of water vapor in the air. Higher relative humidity slows the evaporation process as our bodies try to cool themselves.

1. Name the seasons that occur each year. Why do we have seasons?

2. Which season has the warmest temperatures?


Hours of Daylight

Latitude          0    23.5N    66.5N     23.5S      66.5S

March 21          12     12       12        12         12
June 21           12     14       18        10          6
September 22      12     12       12        12         12
December 21       12     10        6        14         18
3. In which month does the Northern Hemisphere receive the most hours of daylight? That date marks the beginning of which season?

4. Which latitude receives the most hours of daylight on March 21 and September 22? Why?

5. The Southern Hemisphere has opposite seasons than we do. What causes this?

6. In the Southeast our weather is greatly influenced by the Bermuda High. The winds circulating around this high pressure system bring in humid air, which helps produce showers and thunderstorms. Draw arrows around the high pressure system to indicate air flow around its center to describe why this happens.

7. The following are facts and statements made during the summer when temperatures are relatively high. Mark each statement true or false. For those that are false rewrite the statement to make it true.

  A. We have thinner blood in the south than people who live in the north because our weather is warmer.

B. June 21 is our longest day of the year with the sun being at its highest point in the sky.

C. The hottest temperature ever recorded in the western hemisphere was 134oF in Miami, Florida.

D. When it is cloudy outside, sunscreen is not needed. The clouds will protect you.

E. The driving force behind the weather here on earth is the sun.


8. Why should you always avoid the sunlight between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. in the summer? If you must be outside between these hours during the hot summer, and you experience dizziness, what should you do?

9. Does relative humidity make the temperature feel cooler or warmer than it actually is during the summer?

10. The Appalachian Mountains can serve as a control of temperature for our region in summer. How do these mountains keep the Southeast from experiencing cooler temperatures in summer months?

Extra Credit: What is the highest temperature ever recorded at the South Pole?

TEACHERS Click here to send mail for answers to the activity questions.


Weather and Climate Resources for the Classroom

(through 1992)
State          Temp(F)          Date              Station
Alabama        112        September 5, 1925     Centerville
Arkansas       120        August 10, 1936       Ozark
Florida        109        June 29, 1931         Monticello
Georgia        112        July 24, 1952         Louisville
Louisiana      114        August 10, 1936       Plain Dealing
Mississippi    115        July 29, 1930         Holly Springs
North Carolina 110        August 21, 1983       Fayetteville
Oklahoma       120        July 26, 1943         Tishomingo
South Carolina 111        June 28, 1954         Camden
Tennessee      113        August 9, 1930        Perryville
Texas          120        August 12, 1936       Seymour
Virginia       110        July 15, 1954         Balcony Falls
*Source: National Climatic Data Center

Southern AER is a quarterly publication of the Southeast Regional Climate Center. Funding is provided by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Weather Trivia

Did you know that... The highest official temperature recorded in North America was 134F in Death Valley, California.
The highest official temperature recorded in the world was 136F in Lybia, Africa.
The highest reliable, unofficial shaded temperature in the world was 140F in the Sonoran Desert, Mexico.
The highest unofficial, unshaded surface temperature in the world was 201F in Death Valley, California.
The highest temperature ever recorded at the South Pole was 8F.


Permission is granted for the reproduction of materials contained in this bulletin.

Southern AER
Southeast Regional Climate Center
S.C. Department of Natural Resources
1201 Main Street, Suite 1100
Columbia, South Carolina 29201

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, disability, religion, or age. Direct all inquiries to the Office of Human Resources, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202.