Arctic air, flurries arrive tonight

A strong cold front is sweeping off the coast and ushering in much colder air. As the front passes, winds will gust over 40 mph.

Light showers are moving through the Pee Dee and Border Belt while colder is rushing in from the north. As cold air catches up, any leftover rain may change to light snow or a few flurries especially for Scotland and Robeson counties. Because most of the rain will be out of the area before changing to snow, only a dusting is possible in northern Robeson and Scotland counties and that may be a bit much. For most of the Pee Dee and the Grand Strand there's only a slight chance of a shower or a few flurries.

The much bigger story is the cold. The first shot of arctic air will send us below freezing tonight around midnight. For the next 36 hours (through Thursday mid morning) we may only spend 4 - 6 hours above freezing when temperatures reach the mid 30s Wednesday afternoon. We do manage to warm into the mid 40s Thursday afternoon before the next surge of arctic air arrives Thursday night. This wave of cold air may be a few degrees colder than the first. Once again, we could spend nearly 36 hours near or below freezing Thursday night through Saturday morning.

If you took precautions against the last arctic outbreak in early January, you'll need to do it again with these two outbreaks.

Here are some cold weather tips:

- Protect pipes by covering or letting water drip slowly through them during the cold snap. Pipes most vulnerable are those in crawl spaces, the attic or in outside walls. Remember to disconnect your garden hoses as well.

- Have proper ventilation for any indoor heat sources. Make sure they have "tip switches". They are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event it tips over.

- Check on each other and wear layers. Gloves and hats are a must. Frostbite can occur within 30 minutes with temperatures and wind chills this low.

- Pets and livestock need to have a warm place too. Obviously it's best to bring them in, but if you can't, make sure they have a shelter that is well insulated and draft-free. Nose, paws and tails are usually the first places to show signs of frostbite.

- Your car should be fine if it's properly maintained. For those with boats, protect your engine by draining the water out of the engine and the exhaust manifold. If you don't, the engine block could crack.

Thankfully, we'll be back in the 50s over the weekend.

Get your 7day forecast here.