Cover your plants, bring in the pets - it's going to get cold

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 10, 2012 

Carol Santos takes advantage of temperatures in the upper 50s Friday to trim her rose bushes in her plot in Heritage Farm in Sea Pines. She said an approaching blast of cold winter air scheduled to arrive this weekend should not hurt her bushes, though the cold snap could harm other crops in the garden and nip in the bud any blossoms currently blooming.

JAY KARR, THE ISLAND PACKET

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Meteorologists are urging Lowcountry residents to cover their plants and bring their pets inside this weekend as a cold front packing arctic air moves through the region.

The National Weather Service in Charleston issued a hazardous-weather outlook Friday, warning of unseasonably cold temperatures expected to arrive today and stick around through Sunday night.

Julie Packett, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said temperatures will dip into the 20s tonight and Sunday night, with the coldest weather coming tonight when the wind chill could put temperatures in the teens.

"Our normal lows for this time of year are still around the 40s ... so this is much colder than it usually is," Packett said. "It is unlikely that we are going to break any record lows or anything, since it'll likely be around 25 degrees, but it will be much colder than what we've been experiencing."

Weather officials have also warned that the strong winds, dry air and low relative humidity could increase the risk of wildfires.

The cold snap could harm plants that have already begun to grow and bloom because of unseasonably warm weather across much of the area this winter, according to meteorologists.

"This cold air could harm anything that has been able to grow," said Packett, who recommended people cover their plants. "It's going to be such a quick cold front that you'd hate to not do that and have the plants die."

Packett said the weather will warm beginning Monday night and should return to the 70s next week.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.

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