The Columbia area is becoming a regular winter wonderland.
For the third week in a row, snow is in the forecast for the Midlands, according to a hazardous weather outlook issued by the National Weather Service.
“There will be a burst of snow focused northeast of Columbia,” National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Gropp told The State Thursday. “This is the third week in a row where we’ll see some winter (precipitation) which is pretty remarkable.”
Snow is forecast to begin falling at about 8 p.m. on Friday, and could continue through 8 a.m. Saturday, Gropp said. It’s possible snow will linger longer into the day in eastern portions of the Midlands like Sumter and Clarendon counties, according to Gropp.
As has been the case with winter storms in each of the past two weekends, the northern parts of the Midlands are likely to see the most snowfall, according to the National Weather Service. Anywhere from 1-2 inches of snow could be recorded in Newberry, Kershaw, Fairfield, Lee, Lancaster and Chesterfield counties, Gropp said.
There isn’t expected to be as much snow accumulating in Columbia as last week. But Thursday’s forecast has shifted to predict more snowfall than originally predicted.
“It will be more than flurries, there’s a possibility for snow showers,” Gropp said.
There could be anywhere from trace amounts in a dusting to about a quarter inch of snowfall in the Columbia area, according to the National Weather Service.
Snow in and around Columbia is more likely closer to midnight, as temperatures fall near or below freezing, Gropp said. A low temperature of 28 degrees is possible overnight Friday, according to the forecast.
There’s a good chance that precipitation will start as rain and then continue as snow or rain until 4 a.m., the forecast shows. A slight chance of snow remains after 4 a.m., and there’s a 40% chance of precipitation.
Neither freezing rain nor sleet are included in the forecast.
Even without any ice building up on the roads, the precipitation could cause minor travel impacts for drivers, according to the National Weather Service. Hazards will be most common on bridges, overpasses, and secondary roads.
“There are going to be slick spots on the roads,” Gropp said. “There’s a chance for a refreeze on Saturday morning, and possibly black ice.”
Black ice is difficult to see and makes roads very slippery, especially bridges and overpasses. Black ice forms when snow or light rain falls on frozen concrete or asphalt, freezing quickly to form a layer of ice that is almost invisible against the backdrop of blacktop roads.
The chilling temperatures are forecast to remain after the storm moves out of the area on Saturday. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 30s during the day, and could drop into the teens, according to Gropp.
A thaw will begin Sunday, when temperatures will rise toward the 50s, the forecast shows. It will stay in that range at the beginning of next week before hitting the high 60s and possibly 70 degrees on Feb. 3, according to the long-range forecast.