The coldest air in nearly a year is blanketing the York County area, and forecasters say frigid conditions will continue at least a week into the new year.
Another in a series of arctic high pressure systems spread into the Southeast on Thursday, bringing temperatures at least 15 degrees below average.
But meteorologists say it appears, for now, the winter outbreak will be dry. No storm systems are expected to affect the Carolinas for the remainder of the week.
Morning lows Friday are predicted to tumble into the upper teens.
A mild trend is forecast Friday and Saturday with afternoon readings reaching 50 degrees before the next surge of arctic air – which might be the strongest yet – arrives.
New Year’s Eve revelers will have to bundle up, as Sunday’s highs are expected to reach the upper 30s, and midnight temperatures likely will be in the mid 20s.
“Very cold temperatures are in store, with wind chill issues likely across the North Carolina mountains during the overnight periods of Sunday and Monday,” National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Krentz said Thursday.
Krentz said the Rock Hill area might not see 40 degrees from Sunday through at least Wednesday.
Morning lows next week could fall into the lower teens. That could create a threat of frozen water pipes at homes and businesses.
It hasn’t been that cold since Jan. 8, when the temperature fell to 9 degrees in Rock Hill. Single-digit readings also were reported on Jan. 8 and Feb. 20 in 2015.
The arctic blast Thursday morning affected a large part of the country with below-zero temperatures reported in parts of New England, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes and Midwest. More of the same is predicted in the days ahead. The flow of cold air across Lakes Michigan, Erie and Ontario created heavy snow squalls on the southeast shores of those lakes, including 65 inches in Erie, Pa. More of that is predicted with the weekend surge of arctic air.
Meteorologists originally thought the cold pattern would relent by Jan. 6 or 7, but the latest computer guidance indicates the buckle in the jet stream responsible for sending polar air masses into the eastern United States might continue longer.