South Carolinians are bracing for freezing rain this weekend, as a winterstorm watch has been issued in most areas of the Palmetto State including the Lowcountry.
The Charleston Tri-County area and inland Colleton County were both under winter storm watch. Forecasters expect that frozen precipitation will hit the region by the late afternoon on Jan. 21, potentially causing power outages and icy roads.
The National Weather Services Charleston office stated in a Jan. 20, news release that forecasters for the storm were predicting that the Lowcountry would be affected along with the Midlands and PeeDee states.
According to the weather agency, the freezing rain will cause ice to accumulate north of Charleston sometime in the late afternoon or evening of January 21. Then it will expand south through night.
Forecasters predict that up to one-tenth of an inch of ice will accumulate over the course of the period, which could lead to dangerous travel conditions. According to the weather service, wind could also gust up 25 mph, which could cause power outages.
People who plan to use downtown bridges and other elevated surfaces in the Lowcountry should be aware that there is a risk of ice accumulation. The ice will melt when temperatures rise above freezing by Jan. 22, although it could form black ice if temperatures drop to below freezing at night.
According to the weather service, forecasters believe the weekend storm will not be as severe as the previous ice storms that hit the region in the first month of 2014. These storms were caused by frozen rain and wind and resulted in the closure of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.
Further north, parts of the Midlands, PeeDee regions will receive more snow, rain, or sleet just days after a dangerous winter storm ravaged the northern part. This storm knocked out power to scores of residents and turned roads into skating rinks.
The National Weather Services Columbia Office forecast that parts of the central or northern Midlands could see as much as 1 inch of snow, ice accumulations, and up to 1 inch between Jan. 20 and Jan. 22.
Parts of the PeeDee area could see as much as two-thirds inch ice accumulation late-night January 21 through noon January 22, with less accumulation along its immediate coastline.
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