Chilly dip: Divers, other brave frigid Lowcountry Bobbing El Nino might mean cold winter, or not

Icicles on the fountain in Marion Square from the cold overnight temperature.

A black hose is the key. After climbing out of the water into a wind chill of 17 on Thursday, Josh Deaton went looking for a black hose.

If you have to wash off - and the Whiteline Diving Co. diver did after spending an hour scraping boat hulls - the water in the black hose will be more heated by the sun, so there's a minute or so of tepid rinsing before the icy water in the pipes hits.

After the relatively mild 56 degrees in the harbor at the Charleston City Marina, the air as Deaton got out of the water felt like one of those bone-shaking chills. Except it didn't quit.

"Got to pay the bills," he said.

That's how it was across the Lowcountry as thermometers quivered their way up into the 30s before dropping back to the 20s Thursday night. The only good part of the freeze was the breeze died down, easing the wind chill.

Friday's highs are expected to be better, climbing into the upper 40s, said meteorologists Emily Timte and Pete Mohlin, National Weather Service, Charleston. But the lows Friday night will be in the 20s and lower 30s. The region will gradually warm from there. Saturday's temps will climb back in the upper 40s and the lows mostly above freezing. Sunday's highs will be in the 50s and its lows near 50. Monday's highs will be back in the 60s.

A chance of rain is forecast Saturday through Monday.

The cold Thursday was a slap in a frozen face. Icicles clung to the gate to main pier at the marina after one waterline broke.

But all in all, a few dips in the harbor Thursday were livable for Deaton and company diver Roger Szczypta. It sure wasn't as bad as it was for Deaton at Wild Dunes two years ago, when the water temperature was 39 degrees and plunging in felt like somebody tattooing your face, he said.

On Thursday, the two divers kidded with passersby, asking if they wanted to join in for a swim. Tim Cope, of Virginia Beach, Va. came out from the cabin of his sportfishing boat, shook his head and told them, "Y'all are crazy now."

Szczypta answered, "That's why we're here."

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