Columbia’s unseasonal start to spring

jholleman@thestate.comMarch 20, 2013 

— Spring is roaring in like … winter.

A freeze warning early Thursday leads into a cold, wet weekend. At least college basketball fans can sit inside and watch the jam-packed first weekend of the NCAA Tournament on television.

The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for early Thursday for much of South Carolina’s Upstate, stretching down to Saluda, Newberry and Fairfield counties. Temperatures in those areas were expected to drop to around 30 for a few hours around sunrise, cold enough to harm especially tender vegetation. Kershaw, Lexington and Richland counties are just outside the freeze warning area, but typically colder portions of those counties will flirt with freezing temperatures.

The morning lows will be a couple of degrees warmer Friday and around 40 Saturday and Sunday. Highs over the weekend will be in the 50s, according to the National Weather Service. There’s a 60 percent chance of rain on Saturday and 50 percent Sunday. More than half an inch of rain is expected Saturday.

Some outdoor events scheduled for the typically warm first weekend of spring might be canceled. The Columbia Police Department Foundation already has canceled its car show, bike show and barbecue cook-off scheduled for Saturday.

Some of the many egg hunts scheduled the weekend before Easter also might move inside. The biggest local hunt — the Cottontail Festival put on by Richland County Recreation Commission at Sesquicentennial State Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday — was still on as of late Wednesday, according to agency spokeswoman Leigh Cheatham.

South Carolina residents should get used to the cool weather. The long-term forecast is for colder than normal temperatures for the next 10 days.

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