It will be a wet and cold end to 2017 for the Augusta area, according to the National Weather Service.
Thursday’s afternoon rain and a high of 40 will mean a 15 percent chance of freezing rain when temperatures drop in the evening. The rain will move out of the Augusta area just after midnight Friday, but temperatures will continue to drop.
The Friday morning low will be 28 with the wind chill at 22 and reaching 45 for the afternoon high. Saturday will see a low of 30 and high of 52 before dropping to 27 on Sunday morning and a wind chill of 18 . The high for Sunday will be 47 .
Meteorologist Rachel Cobb said there is a possibility of snow flurries Sunday night and a mix of ice and snow on Monday.
With below freezing temperatures, Augustans should be prepared to take precautions with plants, animals and other household items.
Milledge Peterson, owner of Bedford Greenhouses in Augusta, said trees and bushes should be safe but any indoor plants should be brought inside. Simply covering them outside will not protect them.
“At those temperatures, the freeze is what will cause the damage,” he said.
Peterson said cabbages, kales and pansies, often planted in the fall, should not have any issues. In addition to plants, he recommended caring for bird baths and fountains. Bird baths should be emptied to prevent cracking and small fountains should be drained. Large fountains should be safe if they are kept running during the freezing temperatures.
Leaving sprinklers at homes and businesses on automatic can result in ice patches on the roadways and should be turned off during periods of freezing temperatures.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, pipes should be safe from the predicted temperatures. Pipes typically do not see issues until temperatures reach 20 degrees.
The American Veterinary Medical Association does not recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods during freezing temperatures, but if bringing a pet inside during cold weather is not possible, provide it with a warm, solid shelter positioned away from winds. The shelter should be off the ground and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm environment. The pet should also have access to fresh, non-frozen water. Space heaters, heat lamps and heated pet mats should be avoided because of the risk of burns or fire.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters, resulting in more than 300 deaths.
Dr. Robert Mullins, medical director of the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital, recommends keeping heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including paper, clothing and rugs and to place the heater on a level surface away from walkways. Never leave a portable heater unattended and to turn off the device while you are sleeping, Mullins warns.
“We’re offering these tips because we see many accidents that can be avoided, and want to remind people to take a few extra minutes to ensure their safety and the safety of their loved ones,” Mullins said.