Richland County residents should take special precautions to keep their families, pets and property safe over the next several days as bitter temperatures hit the Midlands.
“Temperatures will likely dip into the teens both Thursday and Friday mornings,” said Ken Aucoin, the County’s Chief Meteorologist.
No precipitation is expected during this cold snap, though subfreezing temperatures will arrive Wednesday evening and continue through Saturday morning. Some areas may experience 60 consecutive hours at or below 32 degrees.
• Thursday’s forecast low is 19 degrees. The record low for this date is 15 degrees in 1958. Thursday’s high will be near freezing.
• Friday’s forecast low is 15 degrees. The record low for this date is 18 degrees in 1979. Friday’s high will again be near freezing.
• Saturday’s forecast low is 26 degrees. The record low for this date is 10 degrees in 1896.
The area’s normal temperatures this time of year are a high of 62 and a low of 38.
To protect themselves, pets, plants and property from freezing temperatures, residents should:
• Dress in layers of lightweight clothing. Wear gloves and a hat to help retain body heat.
• Bring pets indoors, if possible. If not, make sure pets have shelter to keep them warm and access to unfrozen water.
• Turn off water sprinklers. Water from sprinklers can trickle onto sidewalks and roadways before it freezes, resulting in ice patches that are especially unexpected if there hasn’t been recent precipitation.
• Bring potted plants indoors, if possible. Cover outdoor plants.
• Run water to help prevent pipes from freezing.
The Columbia-Richland Fire Department urges residents to use extreme caution while heating homes, noting that some heating sources are the leading causes of residential fires. Safety tips include:
• Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least three feet away from space heaters.
• Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Turn space heaters off when leaving a room or before going to sleep.
• Clear the area around the fireplace hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
• Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
• Keep air inlets on wood stoves open and never restrict air supply to fireplaces.
For updated Richland County weather forecasts, tune in to RCTV, the County’s government access channel. RCTV is available on Digital Time Warner Channel 1302, Time Warner Channel 2 in some parts of the County and AT&T U-verse Channel 99.