Moving to South Carolina—What to Expect with Weather

Does it snow in South Carolina? What are the winters like? When is the tornado season in SC? Is flooding a big problem in the Midlands of SC? How hot are the summers there?

Weather in Columbia, SC

The Midlands usually miss the bigger snow and ice storms that the Greenville area may see. We also usually escape major hurricane problems that those who live right along the East Coast have to worry about.


Winters in South Carolina are much milder than they are in many areas of the country. It is possible to get below freezing temperatures, but they usually quickly warm up later that day or within a day or two.

Recent winters have been so mild that there have often been multiple stretches of days with highs in the 70s or even the 80s. January is the coldest month, generally, for our state. The average lows in the Midlands are usually in the 40s.

The winters stay rather sunny, so even if it is chilly, you could still enjoy the beautiful outdoors with a perfect sunroom.


Occasionally, there may be a light dusting of snow or a light ice storm. It’s usually not more than once or twice a year. Every 5-10 years there may be up to 6-8 inches of snow or a few inches of ice.

If snow or ice is in the forecast, expect schools and many businesses to close.


We have one of the most beautiful spring seasons anywhere in the nation. We hope you’ll come enjoy it with us!

Our winters and spring seasons are so mild that you may want to consider designing a beautiful patio and screened back porch for your custom home. Many custom home owners also enjoy creating outdoor living spaces—kitchens, dining rooms, and living areas with TVs and fireplaces.

Pine Pollen Season

If you are from another part of the country, you may be in for a shock in March and April when the loblolly pine trees disperse massive clouds of yellow powder that covers cars, houses, and everything else for weeks.


Tornadoes in South Carolina do happen occasionally. Thankfully, they tend to be on the weaker side. The worst tornado in SC has been an EF-4. And those are quite rare.

The months of March through May generally produce the most tornadoes in the Southeast, including in South Carolina. Although some tropical systems in September occasionally create tornadoes.

Most areas of SC don’t have tornado sirens because we are not in Tornado Alley and our population widespread. It is important to set your phone to get notifications from the National Weather Service alert system (or notification from your favorite weather app or local news outlet) so you can seek shelter if there is a tornado warning in your area.

Preparing for Possible Tornadoes

If you are building a custom home in the Midlands, it is unlikely that your home will be hit by a tornado directly. However, just to be sure you are prepared, you can design a tornado safe room in a walk-in closet, bathroom, or basement as a shelter for your family.

It’s also a great idea to have enough storage space in your garage for your vehicles and outdoor furniture and other items. Before a storm, you can bring things inside to protect them so they don’t get damaged or blown by the wind.

Outdoor Living Room Porch Fireplace Home Builder Sc


Summers are warm and humid in South Carolina. The high temperatures are almost always in the 90s or even in the lower 100s. Air conditioning is a must.

Most days are sunny. Bring your sunglasses! But thunderstorms are quite common in the afternoons and evenings throughout the summer and fall, although they can happen any time of year.


Hurricane season in SC runs from June through November. The Midlands are well-inland, situated over 100 miles from the beach. You could be affected a bit by hurricanes in the Midlands, but most of the time by the time a system arrives here, it has weakened to a tropical storm or less.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Preparation

When you consider custom home plans, be sure to think about having enough storage space for a few weeks’ worth of food in the event that the power goes out due to a hurricane or other storm.

You may also speak with a tree removal specialist who can help you decide which trees may be dangerous and which may need to be trimmed or removed to protect your home. We don’t usually get high winds but, on rare occasions, wind speeds may gust up to 70mph.

Some homeowners also like to buy a generator so that they have power for their air conditioning, refrigerator, and other necessities in the event of a sustained power outage in the area.

Sometimes public schools will close in the Midlands during the Atlantic hurricane season when a major hurricane threatens the SC coast. Gov. Henry McMaster often uses the Midlands’ schools as shelters for evacuees from the coast.


Generally, we do not have severe flooding here. Although some low-lying areas and places near bodies of water are more prone to it.

Minimizing Flood Risk

We recommend home building away from flood plains or on a hill. Speak with your custom builder before the building process about grading and drainage solutions on your property to help prevent flooding, as well.

If you choose to build your custom house in a flat, sandy area, there is nowhere for the water to go during heavy rain. This is one reason people usually don’t include basements in their custom home plans in the eastern Midlands where the soil is sand. Also, the water table tends to be quite high in these areas. Some people build on a higher crawl space to protect against potential flooding.

You can also invest in flood insurance for a reasonable price if you are not in a known flood plain.


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