© 2023 South Carolina Public Radio
Radio Website Header-Waves 6 3.0.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
WRJA-FM, Sumter, 88.1, is currently off the air.

Cold front to plunge South Carolina into the deep freeze ahead of holiday weekend

Forecast wind chills Saturday morning.
Meteorologist Justin Ballard
South Carolina Emergency Information Network
Wind chills in the Upstate and portions of the Midlands could be below zero Saturday morning.

A powerful cold front will bring temperatures crashing across the Palmetto State as the holiday weekend approaches.

The winter solstice is Wednesday and it appears that Mother Nature received the memo. A powerful cold front is plowing through the nation's midsection Wednesday afternoon, with widespread heavy snow and blizzard conditions across the Upper Midwest and a biting winter chill rushing in behind it. South Carolinians can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that blizzard conditions are not forecast, however, a plunge in temperatures is expected state-wide.

Before the winter chill arrives Friday into Saturday, a few showers are expected first as the cold front pushes through the state. This front will be lacking significant moisture, so widespread or heavy rainfall does not appear likely. Any moisture that is squeezed out of the atmosphere will be in the form of liquid, except for potentially a few flakes of snow in the higher elevations of the Upstate. As temperatures come crashing, any moisture that does not get evaporated under falling dew points and gusty winds could provide a few slick spots for early morning drivers Friday.

The heart of the cold air will settle in Friday night, with lows falling to near 10 in the highest elevations of the Upstate. Closer to the Midlands, low temperatures Friday night will settle into the teens. The only area of the state that could escape teens Friday night would be in the Lowcountry, but even in these areas forecast lows are expected to fall into the lower 20s. On top of biting cold temperatures, the wind will be a part of Friday night's forecast. Wind chills are forecast to be near and below zero in Greenville-Spartanburg, near 0 in Columbia, and in the single digits and teens in coastal areas.

High temperatures will be well below average as well, with most locales barely making it into the 30s on Christmas Eve Day. Temperatures moderate a bit by Sunday but only be a handful of degrees. Both days of the holiday weekend are forecast to be in the 30s. Residents are encouraged to prepare their homes for the winter chill over the next day or so before the heart of the cold air moves in on Friday. While the blast of winter chill is intense, it will be short-lived. Temperatures into next week will start to gradually warm up across the entire state, with the Climate Prediction Center outlook depicting the potential for above-average temperatures for New Year's Day.