Winter Weather Expected in South Carolina

Severe Winter Weather in South Carolina
 
Columbia, S.C. (Tuesday, January 16, 2018) – Residents in South Carolina’s coastal counties should monitor local weather conditions and continue winter safety precautions.  Forecasters with the National Weather Service predict the possibility of a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain for all coastal counties beginning Wednesday morning. Forecasters expect below freezing temperatures to last for much of the week throughout the entire state.

The S.C. Emergency Management Division works closely with the S.C. Department of Public Safety, the state Dept. of Transportation, the S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources, the S.C. National Guard and all NWS offices that serve South Carolina to share the latest information about the storm and its possible impact.

SCEMD Director Kim Stenson is coordinating with all county emergency managers to make sure there are no unmet needs in terms of winter storm response resources.

Residents should continue winter safety precautions, including:
  • Check on anyone who may need extra help during winter weather.
  • Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only.
  • Remember to keep a full charge on your cell phone and mobile devices so that they can be used during an emergency.
  • 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.
  • Power outages are expected to be minimal but possible with this storm.  If you lose power, know how to report the outage to your utility company and have alternate, safe means of staying warm. 
  • Monitor local media for information about warming shelters that have been opened by county emergency managers.
  • Freezing temperatures can burst water pipes in homes that lack heat or proper insulation. Wrap exposed pipes or take other measures to insulate them from the cold.
  • 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. 
  • Provide some options for outdoor pets and domestic animals to stay warm. 
  • The official South Carolina Severe Winter Weather Guide contains checklists and tips on how to prepare for a winter storm. The guide is available for download at www.scemd.org
  • Any closings and/or delayed opening of state government facilities will be posted at scemd.org/closings and broadcast on SCETV television and S.C. Public Radio. 

 

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Winter Weather Continues in South Carolina

Severe Winter Weather in South Carolina
 

Columbia, S.C. (Wednesday, January 17, 2018)– Residents should continue to monitor winter weather conditions and take safety precautions as winter weather affects much of the state. Forecasters with the National Weather Service predict snow and freezing rain in the Upstate and portions of the Midlands throughout today and into this evening. Residents should avoid driving on snow-covered roads.

 

The S.C. Emergency Management Division is monitoring conditions throughout the state in coordination with the S.C. Department of Public Safety, the state Dept. of Transportation, partner state agencies and local emergency managers.

 

As of 10 a.m., there are school closings and/or delays in 25 South Carolina counties for Wednesday. State and county government offices in 15 counties are operating on inclement weather schedules today (via scemd.org/closings).

 

Residents should monitor local media and scemd.org for any updates to the state’s status while keeping in mind these safety tips: 

 

  • If local and state public safety officials ask you to take safety precautions, do so immediately.
  • Avoid travel in affected areas. Check local road conditions by calling 511 or visiting scdot.org. If you must travel, 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.
  • Check on anyone who may need extra help during winter weather.
  • Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only.
  • Remember to keep a full charge on your cell phone and mobile devices so that they can be used during an emergency.
  • Power outages are expected to be minimal but possible with this storm.  If you lose power, know how to report the outage to your utility company and have alternate, safe means of staying warm. 
  • 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. 
  • 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 .
  • The official South Carolina Severe Winter Weather Guide is available for download at www.scemd.org.

 

 

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SCEMD to Host Military Installations Seminar

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Representatives of resident military installations within South Carolina will on Tuesday meet with state and county emergency managers as part of a disaster preparedness seminar hosted by the S.C. Emergency Management Division. Participants will discuss best practices and lessons learned during the response to Hurricane Irma and other emergencies involving mutual support of federal military installations and local governments.
 
Representatives of active duty, Reserve and National Guard components have registered to attend the event, the third of its kind to be hosted by the South Carolina Emergency Management Division of the Adjutant General’s Office.  The seminar will include remarks by Brigadier General Brad Owens, Director of the S.C. National Guard Joint Staff, and Kim Stenson, SCEMD Director.
 
“The large-scale emergencies that we prepare for and respond to do not stop at the gates of a military installation,” Stenson said, “This seminar is an opportunity to discuss how military and local emergency plans are integrated during responses to disasters and emergencies such as Hurricanes Irma and Matthew as well as the historic flood event that affected South Carolina in 2015.”
 
Also included on the agenda is a preview of the upcoming state full-scale disaster preparedness exercise called “GRIDEX.” This exercise, scheduled for November 15-16, will test the state and local capabilities to respond to the consequences of a simulated, large-scale power grid failure.
 
In addition to the S.C. National Guard and the S.C. State Guard, which play major roles in emergencies and disasters, invited military personnel include members of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers from installations including Fort Jackson in Columbia, Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, Marine installations at Parris Island and Beaufort, Navy and Coast Guard installations in Charleston, and military units at the Donaldson Center in Greenville.  Federal presence also will include the Federal Emergency Management Agency Defense Coordinating Officer.
 
 
 
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S.C. Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week

March 4-10, 2018

 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (March 2, 2018)— Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed that South Carolina Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week for 2018 will be observed March 4-10.

 

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division and the National Weather Service jointly sponsor the week to remind people that severe storms, tornadoes and flash floods are significant hazards in South Carolina and people need to take proper safety precautions.

 

SCEMD and the National Weather Service are promoting awareness of procedures that help keep you safe during floods and tornadoes.

 

A highlight of the week will be the annual statewide tornado drill.  The drill is conducted in close coordination with the South Carolina Broadcasters Association.  The State Superintendent of Education is encouraging schools statewide to participate.  South Carolina has received a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission to use the Tornado Warning product on NOAA tone-alert weather radio when the drill is conducted.  During the drill, the National Weather Service will use a real-event code, TOR.  The “TOR” code will activate tone-alert weather radios that are set to receive tornado warnings, and those radios will broadcast the exercise message.

 

The drill will be conducted Wednesday, March 7, at 9 a.m.  Public schools, state and local Emergency Management, the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, and others will participate in this annual event.  The purpose of the drill is to test communication systems, safety procedures, mitigation processes, etc.

 

For further information on Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week, contact your county emergency management director, SCEMD or your nearest National Weather Service office.  SCEMD’s Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week page can be found at scemd.org. 

 

Prepare for any Emergency:

  • Develop an Emergency Action Plan for your home, place of business or other that includes what you would do in case of major emergency or disaster.
  • Develop a communication plan that enables you to reach out to family members when normal lines of communication are not functioning.
  • Have an emergency kit for your home, place of work and vehicle. Remember, "The First 72 are on You."

 

Before a Tornado

  • Be alert to changing weather conditions.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
  • Look for approaching storms.
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a train
  • If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

 

During a Tornado

  • If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately.
  • Get indoors to a pre-designated shelter area such as a basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.
  • If in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter.                                           
  • If unable to get indoors, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of potential flooding and flying debris.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.

 

After a Tornado

  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Avoid downed power lines and report them to your utility company.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.

 

Before a Flood

  • Avoid building in a flood prone area unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
  • Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Contact community officials to find out if they are planning to construct barriers (levees, berms or floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the homes in your area.
  • Seal the walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
  • Consider purchasing sandbags in advance because they will be in high demand during a flood emergency.
  • Review your insurance policy. Flood coverage is not part of most homeowner, mobile home or renter’s insurance policies. There is a 30-day waiting period for coverage to take effect.

 

During a Flood

  • Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
  • If time allows, prepare your home for a flood by moving essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle could be quickly swept away.

 

After a Flood

  • After a flood, listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Even if the roadway of a bridge or elevated highway looks normal, the support structures below may be damaged.
  • Stay clear of downed power lines and report them to your power company.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly to foundations. Stay out of any building that is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and other harmful chemicals.

 

 

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Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma Information

 

Gov. Henry McMaster Lifts Evacuation Order for 8 Barrier Islands Previously Evacuated
Local Officials to Continue Restricting Access to Hunting, Harbor and Fripp Islands

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In coordination with local officials, Governor Henry McMaster today announced that all evacuation orders have been lifted for residents of the 8 barrier islands previously evacuated, effective today, Tuesday at 9:15 AM, and that local officials are now responsible for permitting access to each of the islands.

Beaufort County:Hilton Head and Daufuskie islands are currently open for re-entry. Local officials will restrict access to Hunting, Harbor and Fripp Islands.

Colleton County: Due to current conditions and damage in Edisto Beach, local officials will restrict access and will announce the re-entry plan at a noon press conference today.

Jasper County: Tulifinny and Knowles islands are open for re-entry.

The governor lifted the evacuation order by issuing Executive Order 2017-26.

The governor also issued Executive Order 2017-27, rescinding the mandatory medical evacuation of healthcare facilities.

 

Rain, Flash Flooding Possible with T.S. Irma

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Monday, September 11, 2017)– As Tropical Storm Irma continues to affect South Carolina, residents should pay close attention to weather conditions throughout the state. The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center predict that T.S. Irma could produce three to six inches of rain along with wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour. Flooding is possible in low-lying areas that are normally prone to flood.

A mandatory evacuation is still in effect for the following barrier islands: Edisto Beach in Colleton County; Daufuskie, Fripp, Harbor, Hunting and Hilton Head Islands in Beaufort County; and Knowles and Tullifiny in Jasper County.

SCEMD urges everyone to monitor NOAA Weather Radio and local media, to review emergency plans and to use caution as conditions warrant. 

Be Aware of High Wind, Heavy Rain and Flooding: 

  • Limit travel and use extreme caution around down trees and power lines.
  • Treat every down power line as if it were live.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Three to six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not ever try to drive around or move barricades that are blocking a street.
  • Heed warnings issued by local public safety officials. When you hear an official alert, take safety precautions immediately.
  • Be aware that tropical storms can form tornadoes. Pay attention to NOAA Weather Radio alerts for your area and be prepared to seek shelter immediately if NWS issues a tornado warning for your area. 
  • Call 9-1-1 for life-threatening emergencies only. Residents may call the state hotline at 1-866-246-0133 for all other questions related to Tropical Storm Irma.
  • Residents who need safe shelter from the storm may go to one of 24 emergency shelters that are open across the state. A complete list of shelters is available online: scemd.org/shelters-rss.

The South Carolina Emergency Operations Center remains fully activated at Operating Condition One. OPCON 1 is the highest state of emergency operations.

 

Emergency Shelters Opening

Columbia, S.C. (Saturday, September 9, 2017) – Emergency shelters will be available for residents and visitors who are evacuating from southern coastal areas due to Hurricane Irma.

Shelters are generally the place of last resort. Individuals and families are encouraged to have emergency plans in place. These plans should include relatives or friends with whom you can stay or locations to which you will travel.

In the event that you must use a shelter, please consider the following before arriving:

Bring your own pillows, blankets and cots as these items might not be available at every location.
If you are on a restricted diet, bring your own specialty food items.
A complete list of open shelters is available at scemd.org/shelters-rss and is updated in real-time as more shelters become available.

The Department of Social Services is designated as the lead agency for coordinating mass care operations. In particular, DSS works with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, the Department of Health and Environmental Control and other state agencies and volunteer relief organizations in disaster situations to coordinate the capability to meet basic human needs (shelter, food, bulk distribution of emergency relief supplies, disaster welfare inquiries, and emergency social services).


Residents evacuating from the southern South Carolina coast may go to one of the following emergency shelters:

Colleton County – OPEN AT 9 a.m.
Colleton County Middle School
1379 Tuskegee Airmen Dr.
Walterboro, S.C.

Jasper County - OPEN AT 10 a.m.
Ridgeland High Junior-Elementary Complex
250 Jaguar Trail
Ridgeland, S.C.

Richland County – OPEN AT NOON
Dent Middle School
2721 Decker Blvd.
Columbia, S.C.

ADDITIONAL SHELTERS WILL BE OPENED BASED ON NEED.
CURRENT SHELTER STATUS IS UPDATED AUTOMATICALLY ONLINE AT WWW.SCEMD.ORG/SHELTERS-RSS.  

 

Gov. Henry McMaster Orders Evacuations for Barrier Islands in Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper Counties

COLUMBIA, S.C. –Governor Henry McMaster today ordered the evacuation of certain barrier islands in Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper Counties. Due to the potential impact of Hurricane Irma, residents on those islands should prepare to evacuate their homes beginning tomorrow, Saturday, September 9 at 10:00 AM. Although the latest Hurricane Irma forecasts are increasingly favorable for South Carolina, the National Weather Service still expects Irma to cause high winds, heavy rains and localized flooding due to a possible storm surge of four to six feet.

Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered the evacuation of all residents on the following barrier islands beginning no later than 10 a.m. TOMORROW, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9:

Edisto Beach in Colleton County

Daufuskie, Fripp, Harbor, Hunting and Hilton Head Islands in Beaufort County

Knowles and Tullifiny in Jasper County.

Evacuees should pack the following essential items in case the evacuation period is lengthy: required medications, adequate clothing and essential personal items. Emergency shelter locations will be announced as soon as they are open. If you plan to evacuate to a shelter, please be prepared to bring your own blankets, pillows, cots and any special foods if you are on a restricted diet.

Citizens in Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper Counties outside of the barrier islands are encouraged to seek shelter if they have concerns for their personal safety and to be prepared to take safety precautions if they are asked to do so by local public safety officials.

A list of available shelters, staffed by the Department of Social Services and the Red Cross, will be updated on EMD’s website as they open. Shelters scheduled to be operating beginning tomorrow include the Colleton Middle School in Colleton County, Ridgeland High Junior and Elementary School in Jasper County. Bluffton High School and Battery Creek High School in Beaufort County.

South Carolina’s emergency helpline is now active around the clock. Anyone with questions Hurricane Irma should call the Public Information Phone System at 1-866-246-0133.

 

Gov. Henry McMaster, State Officials to Hold Hurricane Irma Briefing

COLUMBIA, S.C. -Governor Henry McMaster will hold a media briefing with state emergency response officials today, Friday, September 8 at 6:00 PM. The governor will update the public on Hurricane Irma's potential impact to South Carolina.

WHO: Gov. Henry McMaster, state officials

WHAT: Media briefing regarding Hurricane Irma

WHEN:Today, Friday, September 8 at 6:00 PM

WHERE:South Carolina Emergency Operations Center, 2779 Fish Hatchery Road, West Columbia, S.C.

 

President Donald J. Trump Approves South Carolina Emergency Declaration

Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that an emergency exists in the State of South Carolina and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Irma beginning on September 6, 2017, and continuing.

The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.  This action will help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency may inflict on the local population, and provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property, and ensure public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 46 South Carolina counties and the Catawba Indian Nation.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide, at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding. 

Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Willie G. Nunn as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION MEDIA SHOULD CONTACT THE FEMA NEWS DESK AT (202) 646-3272 OR FEMA-NEWS-DESK@FEMA.DHS.GOV.

 

STATE PUBLIC HOTLINE ACTIVATED

Columbia, S.C. (Friday, Sept. 8, 2017)– Residents in South Carolina who have questions about Hurricane Irma can now call the state’s toll-free hotline. Operators with the Public Information Phone System (PIPS) are available 24 hours a day for as long as is needed.

If you have questions about Hurricane Irma, such as about the state’s response or safety precautions you should take, call this hotline:

S.C. PUBLIC INFORMATION PHONE SYSTEM

1-866-246-0133

The state Emergency Operations Center is now fully activated at Operating Condition Three as state agencies prepare for any possible effects from Hurricane Irma. OPCON 3 ensures the appropriate specific hazard emergency plans are activated and ready should an emergency situation be imminent.   

For more information, visit scemd.org or follow @SCEMD on Twitter and Facebook.

 
South Carolina Should Prepare for Hurricane Irma
 
Columbia (Wednesday, September 6) - Governor Henry McMaster today issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency and, along with the S.C. Emergency Management Division, has urged South Carolinians to prepare for the possibility of Hurricane Irma impacting the state. The executive order enables all state agencies to coordinate resources in preparation for Hurricane Irma, which is currently a category five hurricane. Forecasters believe Irma could affect the east coast of the United States in the coming days.
 
“The state of emergency allows one of the best, most experienced emergency response teams in the entire world to begin organizing response efforts,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “South Carolina is fortunate to have time to allow us to prepare for Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall, and it is important that families and individuals in vulnerable areas use that time to review safety plans in case they are needed.”

People in potentially vulnerable areas should review personal safety plans, become familiar with local evacuation zones in coastal counties and locate the nearest hurricane evacuation routes. This information is detailed in the 2017 S.C. Hurricane Guide, currently available at all Walgreen’s stores statewide, at all rest areas along interstates and for download at scemd.org.
 
Members of the state’s Emergency Response Team will begin reviewing plans and notifying response staff should they be needed. SCEMD Director Kim Stenson continues conference calls with county emergency managers, SERT agencies and local National Weather Service offices. The agencies on these coordination calls share information and discuss emergency plans in advance of any response to the storm.
 
“It’s too soon to rule out any possibilities,” Stenson said “Hurricane Irma is a dangerous storm and its projected path could put South Carolina in harm’s way. Fortunately, people in South Carolina have time. While we hope we never see a hurricane head our way, we all need prepare for the possible effects.”
 
The Emergency Management Division has increased operational readiness to Condition 4. OPCON 4 is the next highest response level above normal, day-to-day activities, and emergency managers make initial preparations for the possibility of any hazardous situations. Select personnel from SCEMD’s Operations and Preparedness sections continue to monitor Hurricane Irma from the State Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia.
 
 
Know Your Zone
#KnowYourZone
SCEMD encourages everyone living near or visiting the coast to “Know Your Zone” in case a hurricane prompts an evacuation.  Visit the “Know Your Zone” section at scemd.org to use an interactive map showing new, color-coded coastal evacuation zones, routes and links to county emergency management pages with detailed hurricane evacuation information. Use the Know Your Zone Map to locate your evacuation zone.
 
 
 
South Carolina Hurricane GuideDownload the South Carolina Hurricane Guide
SCEMD Completely updated for 2017, the official South Carolina Hurricane Guide has information on how to prepare for a hurricane, what to do during a storm and how best to start the recovery process.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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S.C. Hurricane Guide - Click To Download  S.C. Earthquake Guide - Click to Download

S.C. Winter Weather Guide