Winter storm response continues Monday, with focus on power, roads

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Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 6:49 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Crews worked Monday to restore power and clear roads in parts of South Carolina affected by Sunday’s winter storm.

While winter weather, such as snow and ice, particularly affected the Upstate and northern Midlands, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said other factors, like wind and rain, impacted much of the state and most of its main interstate highways.

“Luckily, it wasn’t the worst-case scenario, and we’re just asking people to stay patient right now,” SCEMD Public Information Coordinator Brandon LaVorgna said.

Some snow-covered roads remained slick Monday, as South Carolina Department of Transportation plows and crews worked to keep priority highways and interstates clear and to start clear secondary roads, with a long holiday weekend for many lending an assist in that effort.

“That’s the best-case scenario for something like that, where we know this storm is coming, and that’s one of the first things we say — if you can stay home, stay home. And in this case, it worked out in our favor and a lot of people’s favor that they could stay home because they had the day off,” LaVorgna said.

More than 33,000 power outages were reported across the state as of Monday morning, down from a peak of just over 100,000 Sunday.

Dominion Energy said the majority of its approximately 17,000 customers who were without power Sunday morning had it restored by Monday, which is attributed to an all-hands-on-deck approach and preparation, including preemptively bringing in 400 out-of-state workers to help with those efforts.

“Over the course of Sunday, when it became clear that most of the damage to our system was going to be in Fairfield and Richland counties, we even started rerouting some crews from areas where power was restored a lot more quickly because there was less damage to the Columbia area,” Dominion Energy spokesperson Matt Long said.

SCEMD said winds or road conditions could make restoring power more challenging after the storm in some places.

“If your power’s not back on yet, just know it will be when they can get to it,” LaVorgna said. “I know that’s not the answer people want to hear right now, but that’s just the fact of the matter with a storm like this.”

The state will not have full damage estimates for a few more days, LaVorgna said, adding there have been no reported fatalities from the storm at this point.

SCEMD will also be monitoring and preparing for the potential of more winter weather in the coming days.

“It’s not something we’re taking lightly at this time, but we are preparing as if we could see another winter storm next week, just in case it does happen,” LaVorgna said.

SCDOT contractors have been providing tow trucks on the interstate since Sunday, which will continue Tuesday with the possibility of black ice.

People can visit or call 5-1-1 to get the latest on road conditions from the Department of Transportation.

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