The second winter storm in less than a week is forecast to drop snow, sleet and freezing rain on at least parts of the Rock Hill region, forecasters say.
And it will come amid the coldest predicted temperatures of the winter.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Chester and Lancaster counties, where up to 4 inches of snow and sleet, along with freezing rain, is possible Friday and early Saturday.
There is no watch or advisory currently in effect for York County, but that could change as forecasters get a better idea on what will happen Friday and Saturday.
Temperatures in the middle 50s Wednesday will be an oasis of warmth in what is predicted to be cold weather otherwise.
A cold front is predicted to move through the Rock Hill area Thursday, and temperatures are forecast to drop quickly in the afternoon and evening.
Off-and-off rain is expected Thursday, but the precipitation is expected to change to sleet and then snow Thursday night before ending temporarily.
National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Rehnberg says accumulations from the Thursday night precipitation should be a half-inch or less.
On Friday, low pressure is predicted to develop off the South Carolina coast and then move up the coast.
Computer guidance is split on how strong the system will be. That is making it difficult for meteorologists to determine how far inland the frozen precipitation will fall.
The National Weather Service office in Columbia says it expects a significant accumulation of ice across the Midlands and the northeast part of the state. Snow, sleet and freezing rain are then expected to move into North Carolina, with the eastern half of the state getting the heaviest precipitation.
“All things considered, however, uncertainty still looms large in this forecast,” Rehnberg says.
He adds that the split in computer guidance “indicates considerable question over the ultimate location of the developing surface low, and the timing of dry air arriving in the Carolinas at the tail end of the system, which would impact the duration of any precipitation.”
One thing is certain, however. Any frozen precipitation that falls Friday won’t melt quickly.
Temperatures are not expected to climb above freezing Friday in the Rock Hill area, and highs Saturday are predicted to be in the mid 30s, despite sunny skies.
The cold weather is forecast to continue through next week, and some forecasters say there could be another threat of a winter storm in the Southeast near the end of next week.
Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle