A gradual warming trend begins Wednesday, and temperatures could come close to setting records by this weekend.
Temperatures will climb into the low 70s by Friday. Saturday and Sunday are expected to be springlike, with temperatures in the upper 70s, according to the National Weather Service in West Columbia, S.C.
The best chance for a record likely will be Saturday or Sunday, said Dave Schuetrum of the weather service. The record high for Jan. 12 was 78 degrees in 1983. Sunday’s record was also 78 degrees, set in 2005.
Nighttime lows will be in the mid-50s Wednesday and will remain in the 50s through Sunday.
On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2012 the warmest on record for the U.S.
The Augusta area experienced a warmer year, too. Eight months in 2012 recorded higher-than-normal average temperatures, according to a monthly weather summary for the Midlands and the Augusta area released by the weather service.
In January, the average temperature was 48.8, which is 3.4 degrees above normal.
The greatest temperature change occurred in March. Average highs were 77, which was 7.1 degrees above normal.
The Augusta area saw its eighth-warmest December on record, according to the summary. The weather service maintains temperature records for Augusta dating to 1873.
The average high at Augusta Regional Airport in December was 51 degrees, which was 3.8 degrees warmer than normal. The average low was 41.9 degrees.
The lowest temperature on record for this week was 1 degree, set Jan. 11, 1982.