South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) crews in action preparing for winter weather loading salt into a brine maker (SCDOT photo). The S.C. Emergency Management Division, state and local public safety agencies continue to respond to incidents that have resulted from the winter storm that began affecting South Carolina Monday night. Forecasters with the National Weather Service predicts that most of the frozen precipitation will clear the state today, but they expect temperatures to drop below freezing again tonight.
As of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 17) SCDOT and SCEMD were reporting the following:
· State and county government offices in four counties are closed today, February 17: Anderson, Oconee, Marlboro and Spartanburg counties.
· State and county government offices in 14 additional counties delayed opening today.
o A complete list is available at www.scemd.org/closings.
· According to the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff, utilities are currently reporting a total of 92,927 power outages statewide.
· The S.C. Department of Public of Public Safety reports 1489 calls for service related to the winter storm. Since noon Monday, the S.C. Highway Patrol was on scene for 721 vehicle collisions, 412 trees in roadways, 88 abandoned vehicles, 22 power lines in the roadways and troopers assisted 246 motorists.
o More information at www.scdps.gov.
· The S.C. Dept. of Transportation reports all major roads statewide are passable, although crews are clearing debris on some secondary roads in the Upstate.
o Get real-time roadway conditions at www.scdot.org
SCEMD encourages citizens to continue winter safety precautions throughout the evening and into tomorrow:
· Check on anyone who may need extra help during winter weather.
· Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only.
· Motorists should be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roadways, which tend to freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
· Monitor local media for information about warming shelters that have been opened by county emergency managers.
· Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
· Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators OUTSIDE and away from any open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not burn charcoal indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from charcoal fumes indoors.
· Never operate a portable generator indoors.
· Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and NOAA tone-alert weather radios.
· Remember to keep a full charge on your cell phone and mobile devices so that they can be used during an emergency.
· Provide some options for outdoor pets and domestic animals to stay warm.
· Follow @SCEMD social feeds at www.facebook.com/SCEMD and www.twitter.com/SCEMD