Just think of today's chill as another blast of cold in what's shaping up to be a long winter.

The nights will warm above freezing by Sunday morning, but drop back below it early next week. At least through early February, it's expected to be colder than normal. After that nobody knows.

On the brighter side, this round isn't nearly as frigid as the record-snapping cold earlier this month.

The Lowcountry, along with the rest of the country, is getting swatted by a series of Arctic cold fronts, said meteorologist Vern Beaver of the National Weather Service, Charleston. And the winds don't seem to be in any hurry to go home.

"It's unusual but it's not unheard of," he said.

Without an El Nino or La Nina climate pattern firmly in place, the furthest out that a climate-forecast computer can really predict is 16 days, said S.C. Climatologist Hope Mizzell. Anything more than that is what the climate gurus call "low confidence."

El Nino and La Nina are Pacific Ocean temperature variations that create winds affecting the Southeast.

On the one hand ...

Good News: No snow is forecast for the foreseeable future.

Bad news: It's cold, and will remain so for awhile.

No record temps.

Thursday morning's forecast low: 26 degrees.

Record: 19 degrees in 1985.

Friday: 22 degrees.

Record: 17 degrees in 2003.

Saturday: 23 degrees.

Record: 16 degrees in 1963.

All time record low: 6 degrees, Jan. 21, 1985.

Wind chill

Friday: 9 degrees.

Saturday: 15.

Next month

Old Farmers Almanac prediction for Charleston in February: 5 degrees below normal.

Blasts from the past

"This is an intensity of cold without example in the memory of our oldest inhabitant and as far as thermometrical records reach. Fluids of every kind became congealed into solid substances. Thermometer stood in exposed situations at zero. ... Ice has formed extensively on the edges of our shores and creeks and mill ponds have frozen generally."

A second entry from the same day:

"We understand a great quantity of fish, principally mullets, were caught frozen in Lucas' Mill pond yesterday and the day before, by digging through the ice. Several British vessels, landing in the vicinity are said to have filled casks with them, and many of the inhabitants of the neck carried them off by bushel baskets."

- Southern Patriot, Charleston, Feb. 9, 1835. Quoted from Early American Winters II, by David M. Ludlum.