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SCDNR – Cold Snap this Weekend

Cold Snap This Weekend

Good morning! I hope y’all got through yesterday’s storms. The National Weather Service is surveying areas in Laurens County and in McCormick and Edgefield Counties today to determine if tornadoes hit there.

Our weather pattern looks mainly tranquil until Thursday once we’re past this evening. A strong upper-level disturbance will cross the state this afternoon and evening. A pocket of very cold air aloft (near 0°F at 10,000 feet over Tennessee as I write) is associated with this disturbance, which will make the atmosphere unstable as it moves over South Carolina. It will lead to widespread showers across the Midlands, Central Savannah River Area, and Lowcountry later this afternoon and this evening. The rest of the state may see a quick shower or two.

The very cold air aloft will result in low freezing levels over the area seeing showers. Also, surface temperatures will likely drop to the 40-45°F range during the rain. You’re probably starting to see where I’m going with this: don’t be surprised to see some frozen precipitation mix in with the rain, especially if you get a heavier downpour. It may be snowflakes, sleet, small hail, or graupel. If you’ve never heard of the latter, it’s a particle formed when snowflakes fall through an area containing tiny drops of supercooled water (liquid below 32°F), and rime forms on the snowflakes. They look like little bits of vanilla ice cream.

It’s unlikely that the frozen precipitation will be anything more than a novelty. I don’t think there will be any accumulation, so there’s no need for panic-buying of bread and milk.

I mentioned that if you want to see real snow, you can find it in the high ground of western North Carolina and Tennessee. It’s already underway and a few areas may see a foot or more before it ends Saturday night. Ski resort owners are pleased. Be prepared for frigid and blustery weather if you decide to make the trip up there.

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