The frigid blast of 2010 in the Midlands could reach unprecedented duration.
The forecast calls for daily lows in the lower 20s or the teens at least through Monday. That would mean a nine-day string of lows below 25. According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, the longest previous string of below-25 lows in Columbia is eight days, ending Jan. 23, 1977.
The last daily low above freezing in Columbia was Jan. 1. It still would be a long stretch to reach Columbia's record of 21 straight sub-freezing lows, set in 1981.
As cold as this week will be, forecasters don't expect any daily record lows. Monday's 16 degrees probably came closest to a daily record, only three above the record set in 1918.
The record low for Jan. 7 (Thursday) is 16 degrees, and the forecast calls for a low around 20. The record lows for all of the other days next week are 12 or below, and forecasters don't expect this cold snap to drop that low.
For those trying to remember the last similar cold blast, Columbia had 11 straight days with lows below freezing ending Nov. 27, 2008, and seven straight days below 25 ending Jan. 4, 2001, according to the climate center.
- Joey Holleman