Wintry weather returns to the Myrtle Beach area Friday

troot@thesunnews.comJanuary 17, 2013 

Although many Myrtle Beach area residents and visitors spent the last week in shorts and T-shirts, they’ll need a jacket and possibly gloves through the weekend with the return of wintry weather along the Grand Strand.

Rain and windy conditions overnight Thursday were expected to usher in the colder, more average temperatures for January, according to forecasters with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C.

Myrtle Beach area residents won’t likely see any frozen precipitation, unlike much of the Southeast, forecasters said.

The return to expected January temperatures comes as a storm system moves across much of the country bringing snow from Mississippi to Georgia to Washington, D.C., forecasters said. Winter storm warnings were in effect for parts of Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina, where the mountains could see as much as 8 inches of snow.

Forecasters said Horry and Georgetown counties would likely see less rain than neighboring counties, particularly to the northwest.

On the Grand Strand, where a severe thunderstorm warning was issued briefly Thursday evening, Santee Cooper and Horry Electric Cooperative reported about 70 customers lost power between 6 and 8:30 p.m. Progress Energy had outages across North Carolina, including 1,311 customers in the dark in Lumberton, N.C. The agency’s website also reported 68 customers had lost power in Sumter. Most reported outages were to the west of I-95 in North Carolina.

In the Myrtle Beach area, a strong low system that arrived late Thursday evening is expected to linger into early next week.

Temperatures will fall from a daytime high in the mid-70s to a high of 50 degrees on Friday, forecasters said. Overnight temperatures will plummet to near freezing, which is average for the area this time of year.

“As the low lifts away a much colder air-mass will spread into the region and any lingering precipitation may turn into a wintry mix,” said Steve Pfaff, the warning coordination meteorologist in Wilmington. “At this time it looks like most of the impacts will occur northwest and north of the area where the cold air will have a better chance interacting with the precipitation. In the end, it may be a close call with northwest areas especially [Marlboro-Darlington-Dillon-Robeson-Bladen] and we will need to keep an eye on this situation in case there are subtle changes.”

The colder weather will remain through early next week with sunny skies expected Monday through Wednesday, according to forecasters. Temperatures will be in the 50s during the day and dip to near 30 overnight. Forecast models showed an upper level trough moving in from the Tennessee Valley, which will reinforce the January-like weather.

“The week of 70 degree temperatures was nice while it lasted,” forecasters wrote in their long-term outlook for next week.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723.

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