The new year is forecast to start with some freezing, moisture-starved weather, with overnight low temperatures dipping into the mid-20s by Tuesday and wildfire conditions worsening amid an already dry season.
Brett Cimbora, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Charleston, said a cold front should push through the Lowcountry on Monday evening. Conditions will be too dry for the system to produce any rainfall or snow showers.
Overnight Monday will see a low temperature of 31 degrees, according the weather service’s forecast for Charleston. The next evening, thermometers are expected to fall to 26 degrees.
“It’s a dry, arctic front,” Cimbora said. “It will be too dry for snow.”
Cimbora warned, however, that freezing temperatures will present a hazard to plants and pets. And with no rainfall in the forecast, this year is shaping up to be one of the most arid on record in Charleston.
According to the weather service, the area has received 37.01 inches of rain in 2011, which is 13.80 inches below normal.
The conditions present a wildfire hazard in more wooded parts of the region, though no official alerts or warnings have been issued.
About 7 a.m. today, for example, firefighters doused a small wildfire behind Flowertown Elementary School in Summerville. The blaze presented no danger to structures in the area.
South Carolina’s wildfire season typically starts ramping up in the early winter and peaks in March.
The extended forecast for Charleston:
Today: Sunny, with a high near 67. Southwest wind between 6 and 11 mph.
Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 51. South wind between 7 and 9 mph.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 69. West wind between 6 and 10 mph.
Saturday night: Clear, with a low around 45. West wind between 4 and 7 mph becoming calm.
New Year's Day: Sunny, with a high near 69. Calm wind becoming southwest between 10 and 13 mph.
Sunday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 44.
Monday: Sunny, with a high near 58.
Monday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 31.
Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 44.
Tuesday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 26.
Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 48.
Wednesday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 33.
Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 52.