Snow and freezing rain causing dangerous travel

Irmo, SC (Source: Mike Johnson)
Irmo, SC (Source: Mike Johnson)
Chapin, SC (Source: Carmen Spires)
Chapin, SC (Source: Carmen Spires)
Orangeburg, SC (Source: Emily, Morgan, Ariel)
Orangeburg, SC (Source: Emily, Morgan, Ariel)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A Winter Storm Warning for the Midlands remains in effect until 7:00 a.m. Tuesday.  Heavy snow has resulted in slick and icy spots on roads and bridges all over South Carolina including the Midlands and now the threat from this system is power outages.  That's because the snow has almost completely turned to freezing rain and freezing drizzle.  Pockets of freezing rain and drizzle will continue off and on through tonight, and it will continue to accumulate on trees and power lines.

(Fairfield, Newberry, Chester, Darlington, Lancaster, Northern Kershaw, Northern Saluda, Northern Lee Counties)
Snow showers will continue to change over to freezing rain. After 6-8 inches of snow fell, expect little additional snow accumulation. Ice accumulations up to 1/8 of an inch will make for very hazardous road conditions in this region and travel is not encouraged.  Power outages are possible. Temperatures will top out in the lower 30s, but drop into the upper 20s overnight.

CENTRAL MIDLANDS & Savannah River Area
(Aiken, Lexington, Richland, Sumter, Southern Lee, Southern Kershaw Counties, Southern Saluda Counties)
Snow totals of 3-6 inches cover the Central Midlands. The snow has changed to freezing rain and drizzle. Periods of freezing rain and drizzle will continue off and on through tonight. Ice accumulations will average about ¼ of an inch. Power outages are possible.  High temperatures will get close to freezing, then fall back into the upper 20s overnight.

(Barnwell, Bamberg, Calhoun, Orangeburg, Clarendon Counties)
The Southern Midlands saw 1/2 to 2 inches of snow. The freezing rain and drizzle will continue and the ice totals will add up to as much as ½ and inch. Power outages are likely. Afternoon temperatures will top out around freezing and then drop back to the upper 20s overnight.

Stay with the WIS First Alert Storm Team for the latest on this forecast.

You can always get the latest information wherever you are on your mobile device on 10toGO! and on our new weather app on your iPhone, iPad, or your Android phone.  Click here for more information about the new WIS First Alert Weather App.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has activated its winter weather road conditions report online. Crews are out treating the roads to keep drivers safe over the next few days.

All snow and ice equipment has been hooked up in central South Carolina and the Richland County area. Crews reported at 10:00pm Sunday night. Workers are also on-call to assist other counties as needed. Crews near Newberry and Saluda Counties began shifts around 10:00pm. Crews have been pre-treating interstates, bridges, and overpasses. In the Orangeburg area, crews began around midnight and help other districts as needed. To check road conditions online, you can visit Winter Road Conditions.

The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority has set up an automated hotline for riders to use in the case of inclement weather. The hotline number is 803.255.7118.

The hotline will have up-to-date, recorded information regarding any route changes or cancellations if they become necessary due to inclement weather.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division is recommending people prepare themselves for the possibility of snow, sleet, ice accumulation and rain with these tips:

  • Travel on icy or snow-covered roads can be hazardous, so motorists are warned to use extra caution.
  • South Carolinians unaccustomed to dealing with life-threatening aspects of severe cold should remember to keep exposure to cold weather to a minimum.  When the weather turns cold, don't go outdoors unless you have to. If you must go out, dress in layers and cover your ears, head and hands.
  • Stock up on heating fuel and prepare emergency heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters.  Please remember to take proper fire safety precautions. (WARNING: Never burn charcoal briquettes indoors.)
  • Use extreme caution when operating a portable generator.  Be sure to read the owner's manual first. Do NOT operate a generator indoors or in any confined space, exhaust fumes can be very dangerous.
  • Remember the usual emergency supplies: a flashlight and batteries, a battery-powered radio, extra non-perishable food and water, extra medicines and baby items, and first-aid supplies.
  • Top off the fuel tank in your car, check the antifreeze, and keep in mind that driving conditions during the winter can become extremely hazardous due to icy roads and bridges.
  • Freezing temperatures can burst water pipes in homes that lack heat or proper insulation. Wrap exposed pipes or take other measure to insulate them from the cold.
  • Prepare a place indoors for pets. Move farm animals to shelters and have extra feed and water available.
  • SCDOT's web site to check road conditions and traffic cameras:
  • The Highway Patrol's web site to get real-time traffic information:

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is urging drivers to watch for winter weather Sunday night into Monday, saying to could affect your commute.

SCDPS Director Mark Keel said his agency is working with several others to review winter weather plans and prepare to act accordingly.

When the weather does go downhill during inclement weather, troopers typically run into drivers losing control of their vehicles, which result in crashes. Keel explained people also tend to still travel too quickly and don't leave enough space in between themselves and other vehicles.

Because the South Carolina Highway Patrol is receiving a high volume of calls, it's asking drivers to only use *HP for true emergencies, such as reporting collisions or being stranded in a vehicle. Traffic conditions can be obtained from SCDOT by calling 511.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is also offering winter driving tips. You can access them by clicking here.

If you happen to have a flight, you can always check to see if it's still on-time or if there are any delays before you head out. You can find all FAA delays and cancellations nationwide on its web site.

FEMA is offering some tips to help people handle the cold and winter weather.

It's asking that you have a disaster supply kit with rock salt, sand and snow shovels.

You can also protect your family by winterizing your home and checking on each other, especially the elderly.

Officials explain it's important to dress warmly for the weather to keep you from succumbing to weather-related injuries.

It's also important to winterize your car. To learn more about what you can do to prepare for winter weather, click here.

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