Folks were strolling out in shorts and enjoying blooming camellias Tuesday as thermometers hit record highs just two weeks before Christmas.
Temperatures reached a record 79 degrees at 2:50 p.m., seven degrees above the Dec. 11 record set in 1889, said Andrew Kimball, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Greenville.
The normal high for this time of year is 55, and the normal low is 36. Tuesday's low was 49.
"We have a really large, upper-level high-pressure system that promotes fair weather, clear skies and light winds," Kimball said. "The drought also makes it warmer without moisture in the air. Temperatures can rise faster."
Monday's 80-degree temperatures also set a record, and the thermometer is expected to return to 79 today, three degrees higher than the record of 76 set on Dec. 12, 1931, Kimball said.
Enjoy it because it will start to cool down Thursday when a cold front begins to move in, said Chris Horne, another National Weather Service meteorologist. Temperatures still are expected to be above normal with a high of 72, but the thermometer is expected to show a high of 64 on Friday.
A storm system this weekend is expected to come through and bring some drought relief. This year's rainfall measures 24.38 inches, down 17 inches from the normal 41.3 inches for this time of year, Horne said.
"There's a decent chance of rain on Saturday," he said, "but it's highly doubtful we will get out of the drought by the end of the calendar year."