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      Arctic air settles in for a few days

      The first shot of Arctic air has arrived in the Carolinas. With the cold air surging in, temperatures will only reach the mid to upper 30s during the afternoon on Wednesday with a breeze making it feel even colder.

      A second cold front will move through on Thursday evening with another blast of Arctic air to follow. Ahead of the front, afternoon temps will recover into the mid 40s despite more partly sunny skies. The cold air behind the front may be a few degrees colder than Wednesday. The Carolinas could spend nearly 36 hours near or below freezing from Thursday night through Saturday morning.

      Overnight temperatures will drop into the low 20s and even teens each night through Saturday morning.

      Take necessary precautions to prepare and protect yourself from the cold.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.