Kiawah: A climate for golf


By Dave Williams

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- As if the layout of the Ocean Course isn't tough enough for the PGA Championship players, there's always the uncontrollable variable of the weather to deal with.

In early to mid-August the average high temperature is around 87 degrees.{} It's comfortable, but you have to look to the proximity of the course next to the warm Atlantic Ocean and take into account the increased humidity levels.{} This often makes it feel like it is well up in the 90's.

Winds typically blow around 10-15 mph, but vary greatly through the day.{} Due to the land/sea circulation, winds tend to be a little stronger from the west blowing offshore in the morning.{} There is usually a bit of a lull late in the morning and into the early afternoon as the winds reverse.{} Then in the afternoon winds tend to pick up again in off the ocean.{} This is also completely neglecting the presence of thunderstorms which are a common occurrence in the summertime in the semitropical climate, or other weather phenomena.{} These storms can produce higher winds in the area.

Showers and thunderstorms during the summer in the Lowcountry produce an average of just over .2" of an inch of rain.{} Does that mean it's going to rain .25" or so every day?{} Likely no, but it does mean if a thunderstorm should happen to pass over the Ocean Course, it will put down very heavy rain in a short period of time.{} It can be on the order of 1" or greater per hour.

Then there's the possibility of tropical weather.{} Fortunately the forecast for the rest of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season is to see near or below normal numbers of storms.{} Since 1950, five hurricanes have made landfall from around Savannah, GA to around Charleston, SC, Able (1952), Gracie (1959), David (1979), Bob (1985) and Hugo (1989).

These storms were on the order of Category 1, Able and Bob with winds of 74-95 mph, all the way up to Hugo, which was a Category 4 storm, packing winds of 130-156 mph.{} Gracie made the closest landfall of the storms to Kiawah Island.{} It came onshore about 25-30 miles south as a Category 3 storm on St. Helena Island.{} Four of these hurricanes happened well after the dates of the PGA Championship on August 9-12, but one did come onshore before, Hurricane Bob, July 24/25.

If the weather looks absolutely gorgeous now, that's great, but always be prepared.{} Have plenty of water to stay hydrated.{} Bring the umbrella which can serve two purposes: stay dry and stay shaded.{} Speaking of the sun, don't forget the sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher to protect the skin and those sunglasses for eye protection.