Tennis time, if the weather cooperates

By Dave Williams

DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) - The Family Circle Cup Women's Professional Tennis tournament is one of the most popular sporting events annually in the Lowcountry. In 2012, they welcomed their one millionth fan since moving the tournament to Daniel Island in 2001.{}

This year the cup runs March 31-April 8.

With that many guests, it's important to know what the weather is going to be like. They need to know what to bring along as far as hats, coats, umbrellas, shades, just to name a few.

The clay courts also are highly dependent upon the elements. Too much rain means lengthy delays because the playing surface needs sufficient time to dry

The Cup is typically held in early to mid-April, so an examination of Charleston's typical weather during that time period is in order. The weather data will be based on the climate record from the National Weather Service office adjacent to the Charleston International Airport.

Average daily highs are from 74-77 degrees with average lows from 50-54 degrees.{} Spring is a time of change, and temperature swings can be sudden and very drastic depending on the weather setup.

Average daily precipitation is around one-tenth of an inch, but that certainly does not mean it will rain every day. Thunderstorms can bring very heavy rainfall and other weather hazards such as lightning. There was a record maximum daily rainfall set on April 2, 2009 of 3.57 inches.

Fortunately, that year the FCC was later in the month and avoided the deluge.

Now take a look at some of the actual observed weather since 2001 at the Cup.

The warmest tournament by mean temperature was 75.7 degrees in 2002, while the coolest was 2003 at 58.6 degrees. The highest temperature recorded was 91 degrees which occurred on both Sunday April 21, 2002 and Monday April 2, 2012. The coldest temperature was 41 degrees which happened twice as well, Wednesday April 18, 2001 and Saturday April 7, 2012.

The wettest tournament week was in 2003 when 2.74 inches of rain fell.{} Rain was reported every day, except Saturday and Sunday, when the semifinals and finals occurred.{} The wettest single day was 1.50 inches on Tuesday, April 8, 2003. Last year, it rained four out of seven days, Monday through Sunday.

Something else to think about is the sun. Many folks have not been out in the weather as much coming out of the cooler winter months, and can easily get a sunburn.

Make sure to pack the sunscreen, and also some bug spray, yes there are No-See-ums!{}

As far as the 2013 weather, it's already been warm and dry, with a record-setting lack of rain in January. Then, we were right about average with temperatures, but the wettest February on record in Charleston. Finally, the cold set in for March with abundant Canadian cold air in the southeast.{}

Now you'll just have to tune in to ABC News4 to get the daily weather forecast for the Family Circle Cup 2013, plus I'm always tweeting from my account, @LCWxDave.