January 2017 Winter Storm

Winter Weather in South Carolina
Below Freezing Temps to Continue Through Sunday
Columbia, S.C. (Saturday, January 7, 2017)– The S.C. Emergency Management Division encourages everyone in the state to be prepared for below freezing conditions that are expected to continue after this weekend’s winter storm. 
Residents should be prepared for extreme cold and hazardous conditions caused by ice. South Carolinians unaccustomed to dealing with life-threatening aspects of severe cold should remember to keep exposure to cold weather to a minimum. Frostbite is harmful and painful. Hypothermia, or low body temperature, can be lethal, and it is particularly hard on infants and the elderly. When the weather turns dangerously cold, don't go outdoors unless you have to. If you must go out, dress in layers and cover your ears, head and hands.
Remember, high wind speeds dramatically increase the effects of cold temperatures by increasing the "wind chill factor."
As temperatures remain below freezing, residents should remember the following:
  • Watch for signs of frostbite such as the loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as finger, toes, ear lobes and the tip of your nose.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • Be aware of possible carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire if using alternative sources for electricity, heating or cooking. (WARNING: Never burn charcoal briquettes or run a generator indoors.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Prepare a place indoors for pets. Move farm animals to shelters and have extra feed and water available.
  • Residents are encouraged to check on elderly and at-risk neighbors and relatives due to the increased potential for power outages and cold temperatures.
  • Be aware of the potential for patches of ice on the roadways. Limit travel if possible. Check road conditions via scdot.org and give yourself plenty of time to drive safely to your destination.
  • Stay updated with the latest emergency information from SCEMD by following our social feeds, facebook.com/SCEMD and on Twitter @SCEMD.
Winter Weather Begins in South Carolina
Columbia, S.C. (Friday, January 6, 2017, 5 p.m.) - Governor Nikki Haley has declared a State of Emergency to mobilize additional state resources and the National Guard should they be needed in response to the impending hazardous weather.  The Governor’s Executive Order activates the Emergency Operations Plan, directing all state agencies to coordinate emergency resources should local public safety efforts request assistance. 
The S.C. Emergency Management Division, state and local public safety agencies are preparing for another winter storm that has started to affect the state.  Forecasters with the National Weather Service predict the possibility of several inches of snow in the Upstate and a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain for portions of the Midlands. Forecasters expect below freezing temperatures for much of the state beginning Saturday.
SCEMD is working 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.  SCEMD has coordinated 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. 
  • 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
  • Any closings and/or delayed opening of state government facilities will be posted at scemd.org/closings and broadcast on SCETV television and radio. 

Read Governor Haley's Executive Order

Residents Should Prepare for Winter Weather
Columbia, S.C. (Thursday, January 5, 2017) - The South Carolina Emergency Management Division asks residents to prepare themselves and their homes for possible winter weather. Forecasters with the National Weather Service expect a wintry mix of snow, ice and rain for much of the state beginning Friday evening and lasting through Saturday.
State and local agencies are reviewing emergency plans for winter weather and are urging everyone in South Carolina to consider preparations to keep your home, community, family, vehicles and pets safe:
Before a Winter Storm
  • Add winter supplies like rock salt and shovels to your disaster supply kit.
  • Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
  • Have your vehicle serviced to ensure it is prepared for the winter season.
  • Place a winter emergency kit in every vehicle. The kit should include: a shovel, a windshield scraper and a small broom, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, a mobile device charger, water, snack food, matches, extra hats, socks and mittens, a first aid kit with a pocket knife, necessary medications, blankets, a tow chain or a rope, road salt and sand, booster cables, emergency flares, and a fluorescent distress flag.
  • Prepare a warm place indoors for pets.
  • Limit travel should conditions become hazardous on the roadways. If you must drive, go slowly and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination safely.
The S.C. Severe Winter Weather Guide is currently available for download here.
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