COLUMBIA – Black Friday shoppers will be greeted by the coldest air of the season on the heels of a strong Thanksgiving storm system.
Ben Miller, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said a late afternoon cold front will disrupt Wednesday's forecast high of 54 degrees and bring the possibility of severe thunderstorms into early Thursday.
The rain should stop shortly after sunrise on Thanksgiving Day, he said, with falling temperatures during Thursday that should bottom out near 18 degrees by Friday morning when some stores open early for holiday shoppers.
A brief period of freezing rain, sleet and snow could occur as precipitation comes to an end, but Miller said freezing precipitation isn't likely in the Columbia area and wouldn't be enough to cause trouble for holiday travelers.
Columbia received about one-half inch of rain as of 9 a.m. Wednesday, and thunderstorms could add another 1.5 inches at most by sunrise on Thursday, Miller said.
“It won't be anything big," he said. "It will be a nice soaker, which is what the region needs after having dry weather."
Friday’s high should reach 40 degrees and provide fairly nice weather for daytime shopping, Miller said. Sunny skies are expected for the remainder of the weekend with a high of 49 degrees forecast for Saturday and 52 on Sunday.