Listening to Bing Crosby sing is about as close as Midlands residents will get to experiencing a “White Christmas.”
But that doesn’t mean it won’t feel like winter in Columbia, and across South Carolina. That’s because temperatures are expected to drop.
“It’s going to be a cooler than normal Christmas Day,” Rich Okulski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Columbia, said in comparison to the past few years.
As families check under their trees for gifts Monday, temperatures in the Midlands could climb close to 50 degrees. But as the sun sets, thermometers will also drop to a low around 30 degrees Monday night.
The cold holiday weather is mild compared to what could come later in the week, when more significant winter weather is possible.
There is increasing potential for a winter storm Thursday afternoon through Friday, according to NWS Columbia.
“We have the potential for sleet and freezing rain in the Midlands,” Okulski said. “In the Upstate, possibly snow mixed in.”
No winter weather watches, warnings or advisories have been issued yet, as the storm originating from a Canadian air mass is still too far away to decisively predict. But that could change, especially by Tuesday.
There is increasing potential for a winter storm Thursday afternoon through Friday. A Canadian air mass will extend from the Great Lakes region southward spreading well below normal temperatures across the Carolinas and Georgia by Midweek. Gulf moisture spreading northeastward Thursday and Friday will interact with the near freezing air in place at the surface creating the potential for wintry precipitation. national Weather Service Columbia
As of Sunday, NWS Columbia was saying that significant ice accumulation is possible.
“There could be a couple inches of snow (Upstate), and in the Midlands 2/10 inches of ice. It’s possible,” Okulski said.
Should that much ice accumulate from freezing rain or sleet, it could have a significant impact on the area. Roadways might become dangerous. Icing on trees and power lines is also possible, resulting in power outages.
Charleston, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach and other areas along the South Carolina coast are also expected to endure colder temperatures. The current forecast indicates it won’t be cold enough for snow or freezing precipitation to be expected in those areas.
That’s not the case in Greenville, Clemson and the rest of the Upstate. There’s a 50 percent chance of snow and sleet Thursday night and throughout Friday.
Georgia is expected to see wintry weather as well, but it should just stay warm enough in Atlanta to avoid snow or freezing rain.
If the current forecast in the Midlands holds up, rain is expected to start around midday Thursday, with temperatures in the 30s. On Thursday night, more rain – and snow – are forecast between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. After that, freezing rain is expected to follow until 8 a.m.
While temperatures are expected to rise enough to make the precipitation not the frozen kind, it won’t get warm enough to clear away any residual snow or ice.
“It may be difficult to get much out of the 30s on Friday,” Okulski said. “We’re in a cold pattern for the foreseeable future.”
Columbia SC Forecast
Sunny, with a high near 51. Northwest wind 6 to 8 mph.
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30. Calm wind.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 52. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph.
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 36. Calm wind.
A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 49. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 33.
A chance of rain after 1 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.
Rain and snow likely before 1am, then sleet likely between 1 and 3 a.m., then freezing rain likely after 3 a.m. Cloudy, with a low around 29. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.
Freezing rain likely, possibly mixed with rain before 7 a.m., then a chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 47.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 30.
High near 44.
SOURCE: National Weather Service