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FIRST ALERT: Winter storm threat increasing

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 4:13 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 9:56 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Friday and Saturday are now FIRST ALERT WEATHER DAYS as the risk of a significant winter storm increases across the region.

A complex weather pattern will evolve from Thursday night through Saturday as very cold air moves into the Carolinas. At the same time, low pressure off shore will provide moisture across the region. The result will likely be freezing rain and sleet in many areas. Depending on the strength and duration of the storm, significant impacts to travel and power could occur.

A powerful cold front will move into the Carolinas on Thursday. Ahead of the front, temperatures will climb into the 50s to near 60 Thursday afternoon. Skies will turn mostly cloudy with increasing chances of scattered showers through the day. The front pushes off shore Thursday night and allows Arctic air to flow into the Carolinas. Temperatures will drop into the lower to middle 30s with showers continuing.

Freezing rain and sleet is looking likely for much of the area on Friday and Friday night.
Freezing rain and sleet is looking likely for much of the area on Friday and Friday night.(WMBF)

By daybreak Friday, inland areas will likely be near or just below freezing while the Grand Strand will be just above freezing. Areas of light freezing rain will be likely inland from the beaches through the morning. The freezing rain could mix with a little sleet at times. Colder air will continue to gradually push into the area through the Friday with most areas below freezing by the mid to late afternoon. Rain along the Grand Strand may transition to freezing rain during the day.

Freezing rain and sleet becoming more likely Friday and Friday night.
Freezing rain and sleet becoming more likely Friday and Friday night.(WMBF)

Friday night will see the temperatures dropping into the 20s. The very cold temperatures will lead to more periods of freezing rain and sleet at times and ice accumulations are growing more likely. How much ice develops is still uncertain at this point, but models continue to suggest that enough freezing rain and sleet may fall to cause travel issues along with potential power problems.

Rain will likely change to Freezing rain and sleet during the day Friday and continue Friday...
Rain will likely change to Freezing rain and sleet during the day Friday and continue Friday night.(WMBF)

Most forecast models suggest the worst of the freezing rain and sleet will end around daybreak on Saturday. However, the GFS forecast model shows a second potential round of freezing rain and sleet late Saturday into Saturday night. This is something we will continue to monitor.

The EURO model suggests that freezing rain and sleet ends Saturday morning while the GFS...
The EURO model suggests that freezing rain and sleet ends Saturday morning while the GFS suggest a second round could arrive late Saturday.(WMBF)

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