The cold snap continues into Friday.
The forecast low for early Thursday morning in Columbia was 15 degrees. With a brisk breeze, wind-chill temperatures were expected in the single digits early Thursday, including 4 degrees in Columbia.
The Columbia Metropolitan Airport recorded a reading of 17 degrees with a wind chill factor making it feel like 8 degrees.
Temperatures Thursday are forecast to rise only to 33 and drop to around 19 overnight. But the winds will die down by then.
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While temperatures that cold are rare in Columbia, that wouldn’t break the Jan. 8 record of 12, set in 1970.
Columbia has had 115 days with lows below 15 degrees in 127 years, including three last January, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center.
Here’s how we’re coping with this unusual blast of cold air.
The United Way of the Midlands operates an Inclement Weather Center at 1219 Laurel St. on nights when temperatures are expected to drop to 40 degrees or below in Columbia. Some days, that’s a tough call if the forecast is right around 40. It will be an easy call for the next few days.
Adults who use the center are picked up between 5:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. at 1219 Laurel St. The Salvation Army prepares hot meals for dinner along with a small breakfast. The shelter closes every morning by 7 a.m.
Travelers already have been calling major airlines flying out of Columbia to re-book their flights as a dangerous cold snap approaches, according to Columbia Metropolitan Airport spokeswoman Kaela Harmon. Most of the airlines have been accommodating, she said.
The airport is not making any special preparations for its runways because precipitation is not anticipated in Columbia, Harmon said.
Anyone flying out of Columbia over the next few days should check with their airlines for possible delays because of more severe weather in other cities. Or check the flight board at columbiaairport.com for delays.
Traffic at Bolands Ace Hardware in Chapin had picked up a good bit Wednesday morning, with folks stocking up on propane, faucet covers, pipe wrap and heaters, manager Beth Shealy said. She expected an even bigger rush once folks get off work Wednesday afternoon, but finding a faucet cover might be a hard task.
The store was just able to stock up on covers this week, getting in three dozen at a discounted price.
“They’re selling like hotcakes,” she said, predicting that the store would be out of stock shortly after lunch. The items, which protects outside faucets from freezing during the cold weather usually cost $8.99 but were selling for $4.99.
Customers still should be able to stock up on propane since the store’s tanks were refilled Wednesday morning, Shealy said.
Too cold to golf?
Golf is a year-round sport in South Carolina, but c’mon, who wants to play when the wind chill is in the single digits? Oak Hills Golf Club north of Columbia recognized that reality and announced Wednesday that it will be closed on Thursday. It will re-open Friday, when early morning temperatures still might hit the teens, but the day is expected to warm into the 40s with little wind.
A few school delays
Some Midlands school districts planned delayed starts Thursday as a result of forecasts of bitterly cold overnight temperatures.
Newberry County had a two-hour delay for students, according to a news release. Kershaw County also had a two-hour delay for students, a news release said. Staff is expected to report at their normal times. Three- and 4-year-old students in morning classes will not attend, the release noted. Breakfast will be served.
Richland One had a two-hour delay for students on Thursday.
Among districts operating on regular schedules are Richland 2, Lexington 1, Lexington 2, Lexington 3, Lexington 4 and Lexington-Richland 5.
Pets keeping warm
Even dogs acclimated to the cold in Columbia should be brought inside when temperatures drop this low. Pets Inc. put out a Facebook plea for temporary foster homes for the handful of dogs that usually spend the night outside at its facility, said Lauren Stewart, outreach coordinator. Dogs that don’t get foster homes will be brought inside the Pets Inc. building, which already is packed with critters.