Welcome to summer in the Sea Islands

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By Lee Scott

The other day while chatting with a friend on the phone, she wondered what I was up to and I said, “Enjoying this beautiful day.”  

“Where are you?” she asked. 

“At home,” I replied. 

To which she answered, “It is pouring rain here.” 

We only live about a mile apart.  

Welcome to summer in the Sea Islands! It happens a lot during these hot July and August days. When the weatherman says “50 percent chance of scattered showers,” he really means it. Scattered means it is going to rain somewhere.  

You may have noticed it when leaving sunny Beaufort and driving down to Bluffton. You start to see cars coming at you with their headlights on and windshield wipers going. Sure enough, rain. 

I have found it raining on one side of Sea Island Parkway, only to drive over Cowan Bridge and not a drop of rain has fallen. Sometimes it is torrential rain too, with the tires throwing off water higher than the car windows and I know if I can just get over the little bridge I will be out of it. 

Which brings me to planning a picnic or an outside barbecue. Relax. Do not cancel your summer party. It is probably going to rain at some point, or somewhere, but it just might not at all. 

It happened to us the other night while preparing to grill on our back porch.  We were looking out our window at the blue sky when we started to hear thunder. Then the waving American flag at the end of the dock shifted from the south to flying from the west. I looked out the front door. Sure enough, something was coming.  

We began our thunderstorm prep. We put the umbrella down and moved the dinnerware back into the house.  

It started to get dark, the wind howled, there was thunder and lightning, and then, nothing, not a drop of rain. Within a half an hour any evidence of a storm was gone. We should have known. 

We try to track some of these storms on the weather radar. If the storm is west of Hilton Head, they seem to skim Beaufort and miss us altogether. (although Edisto might get hammered). But these summer pop-up storms have a mind of their own. Let’s face it. When the thermometer hits 94 degrees there is a good chance that a storm will build up somewhere. 

The question is always, “Is it going to hit my house during my summer barbecue?” 

The answer is: It might. It might not. Let’s just say, you have a 50 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms today.