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Dangerous freezing conditions invade tonight

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Dangerously cold freezing temperatures are forecast to invade portions of the Midlands Friday night into Saturday morning.

"Not everyone will see lows near or below freezing, but everyone in the Midlands will experience overnight lows ranging from the upper 20s to mid 30s tonight," says SkyWACH Meteorologist Justin Kier. "Freezing or not, that can be a dangerous situation for people and pets that are outside for prolonged periods of time."

As a result of the threat, the National Weather Service in Columbia has issued a Freeze Warning for the northern portion of the Midlands. The warning, which is in effect Saturday morning from one to nine, includes: Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Newberry and Sumter Counties. A Freeze Warning means that freezing or subfreezing conditions are highly likely within the warning time.

There is also a frost concern across the Midlands tonight. The air will contain enough humidity that vulnerable vegetation may see frost development.

The City of Columbia's Inclement Weather Center, which is managed by the United Way of the Midlands, will be opened again Friday night. The shelter is designed to assist the area's vulnerable and homeless populations.

Kier encourages residents to exercise cold caution. Pets will be especially vulnerable tonight to the frigid conditions. If you own a dog or a cat, they should be kept warm tonight and Saturday night. House fires may see an uptick in occurrence as well.

"We tend to see a higher number of house fires when temperatures drop," says Kier. "A lot of people will be utilizing portable heaters, candles and other utensils that can be deadly if misused. Please be careful."

Tailgaters enjoying the noon University of South Carolina versus the University of Florida football game should plan for a cold start to their Saturday.

The cold won't be a one night event. Saturday night into Sunday morning will also see lows drop into the 30s, but temperatures are expected to be a few degrees warmer than tonight.

For more information on the frigid forecast, click here.

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