We remain chilly for the rest of the week with below-normal temperatures persisting, but this will feel warm compared to what we’ve got coming for the weekend.
First, though, we’ve got to get through the work week. A cold front comes through early tomorrow, helping to clear out the cloud cover and sprinkles we saw today. Cold air moving in behind said front will keep high temperatures suppressed into the mid-50s despite the increasing sunshine.
Cold air will continue to blow into the area on Thursday, allowing air temperatures to drop below freezing and morning wind chills to bottom out near 20°. It’ll be a good day to layer up; 52° isn’t terribly warm still, but it will certainly feel better than a feels-like temperature of 21° in the morning.
High pressure will then begin to give way to low pressure developing somewhere off the Southeast coast on Friday. This will help generate some scattered showers throughout the day into early Saturday before the low pressure system moves away from the area, potentially bringing quite a snowstorm to the Northeast before it’s all said and done. Said low pressure will drive a sharp cold front through, and lead to weekend highs in the 40s and a very chilly Sunday morning of low 20s.
The temperature rollercoaster will continue as we head into the rest of this abbreviated (for some, anyway) work week. Tuesday will be sunny but still quite chilly as the cold airmass that this weekend’s storm ushered in stays put for another day. High pressure slips offshore Wednesday, though, allowing temperatures to warm up into the low 60s in the afternoon with a little bit more cloud cover working its way in ahead of a cold front. That front will get a little closer on Thursday and could begin to spread some showers into the area into the afternoon hours, but should stay far enough west to keep us in the 60s one more day.
Then Friday rolls around, and the wheels come off in terms of forecast confidence. What is probable is that the front will keep some precipitation around on Friday, and temperatures will be significantly cooler behind said front. The NWS forecast highlights rain showers and highs in the low 40s for Friday as cold high pressure wedges southward. Beyond that, the forecast turns very tricky. Weather models continue to disagree on many of the details of what to expect this weekend, but the potential for at least a little winter weather is increasing. The GFS model has a double-barreled shot of mixed precipitation for Friday night and again over the weekend as it has low pressure developing near the coast and moving northeastward. The ECMWF (Euro) operational model generally shows the primary winter weather threat in the form of freezing rain on Friday night into Saturday followed by dry weather the rest of the weekend.
Suffice to say, it’s a tricky, tricky forecast with more questions than answers at the moment. There are many scenarios, including an all-rain scenario, that are very much on the table. I urge you to continue to monitor forecast updates throughout the week as the details continue to come together, especially with the potential for freezing rain to develop.
After one more freezing cold morning across the Tri-County — perhaps the coldest since late November with lows in the 20s spreading well into the metro area — a warming trend will commence to get us over the hump and into the end of the work week. Wednesday afternoon will feature temperatures running about 5-7° above where we topped out on Tuesday, with upper 50s expected under mostly sunny skies. Cloud cover will tick up overnight Wednesday into Thursday as a weak front approaches, possibly even generating a shower or two. We’ll see more sun on Friday with temperatures remaining within spitting distance of normal for mid-January here in Charleston.
After a couple chilly days post-storm, temperatures will trend back up in a big way for Wednesday as high pressure slips southward, sending winds in a more westerly direction. After just topping out at 54° today, look for highs in the mid-60s on Wednesday with a mix of clouds and sun as a coastal trough lingers nearby. The mid-60s continue into Thursday ahead of a cold front which could bring us a few showers late in the day. By Friday, the front will have cleared and temperatures will once again run in the mid-50s as cooler high pressure builds in from the west.
Expect these cool temperatures to persist into Saturday before warming up big-time on Sunday ahead of a more potent front, which by Monday evening into Tuesday could bring us an even cooler airmass linked to strong high pressure building out of the Plains.
Coastal flooding will once again be an issue with Wednesday morning’s high tide, predicted to peak around 7.5′ around the 10am hour. This will once again cause minor to moderate coastal flooding in parts of downtown Charleston and could close a few roads. Be ready to use alternate routes in case you encounter a flooded road.
2021 is going to close out on a very warm note for the Lowcountry. At the surface, subtropical high pressure will hold firm while the flow aloft continues in a zonal pattern, resulting in an inability to get any fronts through here until the first of the year.
We’ll have at least one or two more opportunities to break record highs before 2021 is all said and done. Wednesday should feature a little less cloud cover, allowing temperatures to challenge the record high of 79° set in 2015. Despite the possibility of some scattered showers Thursday as an upper disturbance ripples by, temperatures should still warm into the upper 70s. (This will fall short of the record of 82°, though, set in 2015.) Partly to mostly cloudy skies return Friday with highs in the upper 70s once again getting close to the record of 78° set in 1996. Indeed, it would be a fitting end to a year that started with a record high — 80° on New Year’s Day.
Dry weather continues as we close out the last full work week of 2021, with a warming trend into the mid-70s to boot as high pressure remains in control with ridging aloft hanging on for a few more days. We’ll see an increase in cloud cover as moisture begins to work back into the area in the upper levels, but rain looks to hold off until a front arrives on Sunday. Otherwise, not too much to write home about in the near term. We’ll be keeping an eye on the potential for a storm system to bring some additional rain to the area early next week as a Gulf low spins up and moves eastward. Beyond that, model agreement is still far apart on the specifics, so we’ll just have to watch how trends evolve over the next few days. For now, though, enjoy the relatively quiet weather!
The first measurable rain in quite some time is expected heading into Wednesday through early afternoon as a cold front swings through. Don’t be surprised if you hear a little thunder, too, but no severe weather is expected. The rain will keep high temperatures pinned into the mid-60s. We could see up to an inch in some spots, which would be awfully helpful with the ongoing abnormally dry conditions and even some moderate drought in parts of the area.
We’ll dry out Thursday as high pressure builds back in, but we’ll stay cool with highs topping out in the low 60s. That cool spell won’t last long, though, as we shoot right back into the low 70s for Friday with showers a possibility in the afternoon.
Meteorological winter begins tomorrow, running from December 1 through February 28, 2022. It sure won’t feel like it, though: temperatures will warm to near 70° on Wednesday, and then peek into the low to mid-70s on Thursday and Friday. We’ll have some cloud cover associated with a weak disturbance aloft Wednesday, but other than that, expect quite a bit of sunshine over the next few days.
The only weather concern looks to be a small risk for minor coastal flooding beginning with Friday morning’s high tide as we head toward the new moon phase. So far, the NWS forecast has that tide peaking just shy of 7’, which is the minor coastal flooding criteria. Peeking a little further down the road, guidance indicates that Saturday morning’s high tide may scrape that 7’ threshold as well. So far, though, it certainly does not appear to be a repeat of the last new moon, which brought us top-15 tides during the first week of November.
Finally, we bid adieu to the 2021 hurricane season, which was another extremely busy season in terms of named storms (21). For the second consecutive year, the primary storm name list was exhausted — but we did not have to crack open the supplemental list, at least. Once again, our luck has held here — aside from the quickly-developing Tropical Storm Danny and the nocturnal tornado outbreak associated with Tropical Storm Elsa, it was another rather quiet season for the Lowcountry, and for that I am grateful.
After topping out at 72° today away from the cooler coastline, we’re back into the 70s for a couple more days before a cold front swings through for Friday, allowing high pressure to wedge into the area for the weekend. We’ll actually see a few clouds on Wednesday before an increase in cloud cover Thursday in response to the cold front approaching the area. There’s a tiny chance that we may see a shower or two, but the relative dearth of moisture should keep the vast majority of us rain-free. Cool high pressure builds back into the area on Friday, keeping high temperatures well into sweater weather territory in the low 60s in the afternoon. Overall, not a bad way to close out the last work week before Thanksgiving.
The rest of the work week will be on the mild side as high pressure slips offshore ahead of a cold front. Wednesday will start a little on the cloudy side, which will act to keep lows from falling too far below the mid-40s in most spots. The sun will come back in the afternoon and yield another pleasant day with highs in the mid-70s.
Thereafter, a cold front approaches the area Thursday into Friday, bringing some scattered showers to the area beginning Thursday afternoon. A thunderstorm or two can’t be ruled out, either, but severe weather is not expected. Temperatures start in the mid-50s and top out in the mid-70s on Thursday. Friday starts even warmer, perhaps in the low 60s, before showers depart and cooler, drier air begins working into the area. Even still, expect highs in the mid-70s on Friday.
Don’t let the sweaters slip too far away — another cooldown is in the cards for the weekend with a series of reinforcing cold fronts into next week.
There is a small risk for some minor coastal flooding early Wednesday afternoon, but otherwise, this event appears to be finally in the books. This was a brutal stretch: we’ve had some degree of coastal flooding each day since November 3, with four consecutive days of major flooding between November 5-8. Three top-15 tides were set, including Sunday morning’s high tide at 8.51’ which was good for tenth highest on record.
@chswx is community-supported, hype-averse weather information, preparedness tips, and alerts for the Charleston, SC Tri-County area (Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester counties) by Jared Smith.