Earliest snow on record in Columbia area surprises South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A surprise band of snow about 25 miles wide swept across parts of South Carolina on Saturday, falling on pumpkins and power lines.
It was the earliest snow on record in the Columbia area by eight days, according to the National Weather Service. Neither Boston nor New York City has had snow this fall and Fargo, N.D., has had only a trace of the white stuff.
The wet flakes in South Carolina collected on trees and sent branches still full of leaves crashing down on power lines. Utilities reported a peak of about 20,000 power outages as the snow tapered off before noon Saturday.
The weather service said around 2 inches of snow fell in some areas of Greenville, which is in the northwest part of the state. The band continued south, dumping a couple of inches of snow all the way to Lexington County, just west of Columbia.
Forecasters expected the snow to mix with rain as low pressure moved through the state, but the low was more powerful than expected, and the snow fell to the surface before it could melt, weather service meteorologist Chris Liscinsky said.
“It was the complete changeover to snow that was quite unusual for this time of year,” Liscinsky said.
The snow caused few problems on roads. The high in Columbia was 84 on Wednesday and 69 on Friday, so the pavement was too warm for the snow to stick.
Troopers closed a part of Interstate 20 in western Lexington County for a few minutes because several 18-wheelers got stuck in the slush trying to make it up a small hill. They were pulled to the side until the burst of snow stopped, Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins said.