Officials are predicting the coldest weather so far this season this weekend, including the first hard freeze, officials said.
Richland County chief meteorologist Ken Aucoin said temperatures are expected to drop into the lower to mid-20s throughout Richland County this weekend.
The cold snap is expected to start Friday and last through Sunday morning. A low of 23 is expected Saturday morning, followed by a low of 27 degrees Sunday morning. The normal low for this time of year is 37 degrees.
Richland County Emergency Services suggested residents layer clothes and wear gloves and a hat to retain heat, run water to prevent pipes from freezing and bring potted plants indoors or cover outdoor plants.
Pets should also be kept indoors. If not, pets should have shelter to keep warm and have access to unfrozen water.
The Columbia-Richland Fire Department also gave the following heat safety tips:
▪ Keep flammable items, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least three feet away from space heaters.
▪ Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
▪ Turn space heaters off when leaving a room or before going to sleep.
▪ Clear the area around the fireplace hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
▪ Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
▪ Keep air inlets on wood stoves open and never restrict air supply to fireplaces.