Dig out your snow pants and get a snowman carrot nose ready because the tri-county area could see the first snowfall of the year this afternoon through this evening.
"You're going to be on the edge of this system, so I do think you're going to …
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"You're going to be on the edge of this system, so I do think you're going to get some light snow midday Wednesday, and it should taper off Wednesday evening," said Brian Edwards, an AccuWeather meteorologist in State College, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday afternoon.
The snow is associated with a winter storm system that will move across coastal South Carolina today. An AccuWeather news release said the storm will spread from northern Florida up the East Coast toward Virginia.
Edwards said Sumter and Lee counties should be in the zone that could get anywhere from a light coating to an inch of snow. According to Weather Underground forecasts, Clarendon County could also see snow flurries.
He predicted any snow the tri-county sees today will stick and not melt immediately because recent frigid temperatures have made the ground cold enough for this to be possible.
Crews across the state are preparing for possible winter weather into tonight and warn of potentially dangerous travel conditions during the next few days.
Department of Transportation workers were pretreating roads and bridges across the South Carolina coast on Tuesday morning and afternoon ahead of the storm, according to a DOT news release. Salt in Columbia was being loaded into trucks bound for the coast.
Crews in the Upstate were preparing to help their Lowcountry counterparts and also preparing "to clear roads and bridges in the Upstate should the winter weather take an unexpected turn in that direction."
Edwards said the best way for tri-county residents to stay safe during the potential winter weather is to stay home if possible.
"Avoid traveling (this) afternoon and evening especially, when travel conditions are worst," he said. "If you have to go out, morning is your best bet. If you have to go out during it, allow for some extra travel time. Avoid traveling east if possible."
Anywhere east, toward Myrtle Beach, could have the heaviest accumulation of snow and ice. Edwards was concerned about evening travel across the coast and tri-county because temperatures will likely be below freezing, meaning the precipitation will continue to stick around and create slick conditions.
DOT also warned in its release against traveling if possible and to be careful around work crews.
"For motorists who need to travel, SCDOT advises extreme caution when approaching SCDOT crews and vehicles clearing roads," according to the release.
He said Thursday in Sumter the temperature should get to the lower 40s with sunshine, likely melting any snow, but that it could refreeze Thursday night. That could make travel treacherous for days.
Anyone who needs shelter from the freezing weather can find a warm bed and meal at Sumter United Ministries' shelter at 320 W. Oakland Ave. The shelter operates from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. but will stay open until noon to allow temperatures to rise above freezing. Dinner is served each day at 7 p.m. Guests must be checked in by 8 p.m. unless they come to the shelter with an officer.
Edwards did offer a bit of good news for the tri-county. Monday's high temperature should get into the 60s, he said.
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