Temperatures climbed into the 50s Saturday afternoon, but forecasters warned Carolinas residents that a cold wave will begin Sunday and could last for several days.
Meteorologists say the thermometer might remain at or below freezing for a period of 40 hours early in the week.
However, snow-lovers will be disappointed, forecasters say. Dry conditions are expected for the York County area through the next week.
The next surge of arctic air is expected to arrive early Sunday. In advance of the cold front, temperatures climbed to seasonal average highs Saturday afternoon. It was the first time since Christmas Eve, when Rock Hill recorded a high of 59.
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Forecasters say high temperatures Sunday will not climb out of the mid or upper 30s, and readings on New Year’s Day will be hard-pressed to get above freezing. In some places, the temperatures could be below freezing from Sunday evening until Tuesday afternoon, when readings are expected to get a few degrees above freezing.
The National Weather Service office in Greer said Saturday the extended period of cold weather will create a threat of burst water pipes and hypothermia.
Yet another surge of cold air is expected to reach the Rock Hill area Thursday, continuing the chilly conditions through at least the first week of January.
The strong arctic high pressure systems are pushing the typical winter storm track much farther south than usual. That is keeping conditions dry in the Carolinas and preventing wintry precipitation from affecting the Piedmont. Forecasters are watching a potential system that could move up the Carolinas coast around midweek, possibly spreading snow or sleet into the coastal areas.
For the rest of the region, however, the forecast is simply cold.
“What we are left with might be called by some as a waste of a perfectly good cold air mass, with no potential for winter weather,” National Weather Service meteorologist Pat Moore said. “Others are probably happy about that.”