As of 11:30PM Saturday- Georgia and South Carolina are bracing for the first big winter storm we’ve had in years… a big change from the extreme warmth during the beginning of this month. A low pressure system is moving in from the west- favorable for producing winter precipitation due to having cold air, and a lot of moisture. The center of the low will determine where the winter precipitation takes place. It’s expected to move just to the north of the CSRA, which is good for our area. This means that the freezing line will stay to the north of Augusta, and I-20, taking away our chance of snow and leaving us with mostly rain. However, freezing rain and sleet are still possible for parts of the CSRA.
As of this morning, a Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the Northern CSRA and a portion of the central CSRA, including the Augusta and Aiken areas. It is from midnight until 4PM tomorrow. This means that winter weather, in the forms of freezing rain or sleet, are possible and could cause inconvenience. Saluda county and eastern Aiken county could get 0.25-0.50″ of ice, while the rest of the areas under the advisory will likely see 0.10″ at the most. Regardless of accumulation, ice combined with the gusty winds, and heavy rain could be a big problem anywhere. Trees can easily snap and powerlines can go down. Freezing rain formation will be based on the road temperatures- not the air temperature. When roads drop below freezing, that’s when rain freezes at the surface (freezing rain). A single degree could end up making a huge difference.
As mentioned previously, gusty winds will occur tomorrow as well, and could end up being our biggest issue. A Wind Advisory and Lake Wind Advisory are in effect for our central, northern counties, and a few southern counties from midnight until noon tomorrow. However, gusts will be between 25-40 mph throughout the entire CSRA, so it’s possible this advisory will be extended. Bring anything inside that could easily blow away.
For the counties not included in an advisory, heavy rain is going to be the biggest concern. Accompanied by the winds, rain can still cause power outages and trees to fall. Rainfall totals will be between 1-2 inches.
The timeline of this event will be from 10PM Saturday until 2PM Sunday- with the exception of a few light showers before and after. The threat of winter precipitation will mostly be from 6AM-9AM. By the late morning, warmer air will move in, leaving us with just rain. This rain will help melt any ice that could’ve formed. However, any remaining ice could refreeze Monday morning when temperatures drop below freezing. A few flurries can’t be ruled out, but the chance is very low. Overall, this will be a wind and rain event with a few locations seeing freezing rain and sleet.