Flickr user Doug DuCap Food and Travel
I grew up along the South Carolina coast and can remember spending many a Christmas eve pressing my fingers against the glass windows to see if it was cold enough for a snowy Christmas.
Yes, this amateur weather man rarely realized that clouds did not mean there was a good chance of rain. Still, it never snowed for me, but kids in Beaufort this year have a chance -- however slim.
First lets address the bit of freezing temperatures: While we're headed down to the low 30s tonight, the rain isn't due until Christmas afternoon and evening when the temperatures are due to be in the mid 50s to high 30s at night. So the best chance of snow is really the day after Christmas, Sunday, when rain is expected to continue as we slip into a nighttime low of 29 degrees.
Upstate is, of course, a different story where snow is a good bit more likely.
Stay tuned to the National Weather Service's forecast page for the latest in this possible Christmas miracle. And even if it doesn't snow now, we can at least remember the great snow earlier this year.
A word on traffic
Snow is no fun matter for the South Carolina Department of Transportation which is bracing for the worst by activating 109 maintenance employees and dumping 21 tons of salt on state (mostly upstate) roads.
If you'll be driving, do read these 10 snow/ice driving tips.
The department has also turned on its "Winter Road Conditions" page that lists conditions for freeways and state highways, which are first to be cleared during inclement winter weather.
It also issued this statement on preparations in the various areas of the state:
Engineering District 1 (Richland, Lexington, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter counties) – All first shift employees are prepared to come in Saturday night. As conditions change, we will modify accordingly.
Engineering District 2 (Anderson, Abbeville, Laurens, Newberry, Greenwood, McCormick, Saluda and Edgefield counties) – SCDOT crews are pre-treating Interstate routes today. Based on the current forecasts, crews will report throughout the day on Christmas. This may change as the situation warrants.
Engineering District 3 (Greenville, Oconee, Spartanburg and Pickens counties) – District 3 started pre-treatment operations on Wednesday. At this time all interstate routes, overpasses and ramps have been treated. This afternoon, crews began pre-treating primary routes and other more isolated locations. All counties will continue to pre-treat until the end of the work day today. Crews are on stand-by to work on Friday if the weather dictates or if the storm comes in earlier than it is now predicted. Under the current forecast, we anticipate phasing in our full complement of staffing on Christmas day.
Engineering District 4 (York, Cherokee, Union, Chester, Lancaster, Chesterfield and Fairfield counties) – Crews will continue start pre-treatment activities throughout the day tomorrow. They are prepared to start operational shifts on Christmas day, and will adjust based on the forecast.
Engineering District 5 (Horry, Georgetown, Florence, Marion, Williamsburg, Darlington, Dillon, and Marlboro counties) – In anticipation of a possible winter storm event, the crews in District 5 are scheduled to report Christmas night. This may be adjusted as the forecast changes.
Engineering District 6 (Charleston, Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton, Dorchester and Berkeley counties) - District 6 will be monitoring the forecast, and responding as needed. At this time the event is expected to be a rain event only.
Engineering District 7 (Aiken, Barnwell, Calhoun, Clarendon, Orangeburg, Bamberg, Barnwell, Allendale and Hampton counties) – District 7 will be monitoring the forecast, and responding as needed. At this time this event is expected to be a rain event only.