Winter certainly reared its head in Beaufort County Thursday morning, with temperatures in the 40s and a steady rain punctuating the cold, begging the question, could we soon see snow in the area?
According to Jonathan Lamb, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, snow isn’t expected in the Lowcountry any time soon.
“If it did happen, the timeframe would be Saturday morning, most likely,” said Lamb. “But at this point it’s looking like the much colder air that would be required to produce anything more than rain won’t be getting here until later on Friday, and by then the moisture will have moved out.”
As a general rule, snow is a rarity in Beaufort County, happening “maybe once a year” according to Lamb. In fact, it snows so little in the area that the weather service doesn’t even have an average snowfall amount on record, he said.
Generally, January and February are when we have the best chance of Snow, Lamb said. That is when temperatures are low enough and moisture is high enough that it becomes a real possibility.
Across the Palmetto State snow probabilities are higher, but not significantly according to Jeff Linton, meteorologist with the weather service in Columbia.
While the possibility of snow in the midlands was bandied about earlier this week, Linton says that the best possibility for it would fall Friday evening into Saturday, and shouldn’t be a threat east of Piedmont. If it does fall, it will be the first snow the state has seen this season.
“When you get to the western midlands into Piedmont, as the rain is ending Friday night into Saturday it is a possibility that it could mix with a little snow,” Linton said.
Snow becomes a greater possibility as you move into the mountains of western South Carolina, Linton said, noting that up to an inch of snow could accumulate in that part of the state.
According to Linton, the further east in the state you go, the less likely it is that you’ll see snow. He did note, though, that even if snow does not fall in most of the state, cold temperatures are expected to blanket all of it over the course of the next week.
Lamb notes that just because it feels like winter now, those conditions could change very quickly, especially in this part of the country.
“We’re far enough south that there’s generally going to be warm and cold spells throughout the winter,” said Lamb, noting seasonal forecasts released earlier this year predicting a warmer than average winter. “That means that even though we will have cold snaps, we’ll most likely have some unseasonably warm weather as well.”