Flurries around Augusta, heavier snow expected

The Augusta area could see snowfall between two and four inches starting this afternoon and into the evening hours, the National Weather Service predicts.

Here's the updated forecast

 A significant accumulating snowfall is expected for Lincoln, McDuffie, Columbia, Richmond, Burke, McCormick, Edgefield, Saluda, Aiken and Barnwell counties tonight.,

A winter storm warning will remain in effect until 6 a.m. Saturday.  

Snow will accumulate from 2 to 5 inches tonight and should end by early Saturday, however, snow and ice will remain on the roadways making driving hazardous.

 Temperatures should begin to rise above freezing Saturday and frozen precipitation on roads should begin to melt, making travel safer.

 

 Here's why it will happen:

 The temperature you feel outside might not be below freezing right now, but weather officials say that won't stop a major snowstorm from dumping two to four inches of snow on the Augusta area starting later today.

"There's no warm air aloft with this system," said Mike Cammarata, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in West Columbia, S.C., explaining why forecasters were so sure they would see plenty of snow today.

He said that 4,000 to 5,000 feet up in the air the temperature is below freezing and despite surface temperatures currently above freezing just a couple of thousand feet up from the ground the snow won't melt as it drops.

Matter of fact, he said, as the snow begins to fall it will cause the surface temperature to begin cooling, and surface temperatures should then dip below freezing by 6 p.m. today, at which time snow could begin to collect on roadways.

Cammarata said typically the upper atmosphere air for this area is above freezing, but that's not the case this time because the jet stream has dipped far south, pushing that warmer aloft air far south of us.

Cammarata said that whenever we get a good snow in Augusta, it's usually because the upper atmosphere is abnormally below freezing.

 Bridges and overpasses are particularly susceptible to freezing conditions, and motorists should use caution.

The best advice is probably to stay inside and off the roads this evening, said Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker in an e-mail. She said workers would be on call to respond to areas that need sand and salt.

Diane Johnston, marketing director for Augusta Regional Airport, said shortly after 3 p.m. that no more Delta flights are leaving from Augusta Regional Airport today. US Airways is still flying though.

Delta was canceling 400 departures from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport today ahead of the snow storm, according to Associated Press reports. The Delta flights will be cut on routes in and out of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina.

 

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