Articles

2014 Winter Storm Information Feb 10-15

ICE STORM REIMBURSEMENT DEADLINE EXTENDED

Columbia, S.C. (Wednesday, April 9, 2014) - The S.C. Emergency Management Division announced today that any applicant eligible for federal reimbursement from the Feb. 10-14 winter weather event should submit a formal request to the agency before May 9.  SCEMD is accepting Requests for Public Assistance from any local government, state agency or private not-for profit located within the 22-county designated federal disaster area.  Submitting the RPA to SCEMD allows eligible applicants to begin the FEMA Public Assistance reimbursement process.  Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal, emergency work and the repair or replacement of eligible facilities in the State of South Carolina for Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Calhoun, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Edgefield, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Lexington, Marion, Orangeburg, Saluda, Sumter and Williamsburg counties. 

It is extremely important for all government agencies and eligible private non-profit organizations that have eligible costs or damages associated with the winter weather event to compete this form as soon as possible to ensure they will be available to receive funding.  SCEMD’s Recovery Section has worked with FEMA conducting a series of briefings and meetings with local governments to share information on the reimbursement process and the necessary steps to take.  Completed RPA forms should be returned to SCEMD by email at to recovery@emd.sc.gov or via fax to 803-737-8570.  Private non-profit organizations (including electric cooperatives) will require additional support documentation, including (1) Tax Exemption Certificate and (2) either organizational by-laws OR a (signed) copy of charter/articles of incorporation.  All RPAs must be vetted by SCEMD staff, submitted to FEMA, and entered into their system no later than May 9, 2014.

Click Here to Download the Request for Public Assistance Application

 

S.C. TO GET FEDERAL ASSISTANCE IN WAKE OF WINTER STORM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 1:15 p.m.) – In response to Governor Nikki Haley’s request, President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster area for parts of South Carolina.

Federal disaster aid is now available for 21 counties in South Carolina which were most severely affected by the February 10-14 winter storm.  The FEMA Public Assistance program helps reimburse local and state governments and non-profit organizations and co-ops for certain expenses they incurred. Because the ice storm damage was not significant and widespread on uninsured homes or businesses, the citizens are not eligible for federal assistance in this instance.

On March 4, Governor Haley formally requested a disaster declaration from the White House for Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Calhoun, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Edgefield, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Marion, Orangeburg, Saluda, Sumter, and Williamsburg counties.  Her request followed an assessment of damages by representatives of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, affected electric co-ops, and local and municipal governments.

Under the Public Assistance Program, state and affected local governments are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the storm, and the repair or replacement of damaged public utilities. The division of the remaining 25 percent will be determined later.  More information about this program can be found here.

The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce – or mitigate -- future disaster risks.  Funds under this program will be available to state agencies, local governments, and certain non-profit organizations only. A wide variety of potential projects is eligible.

The S.C. Emergency Management Division will explain procedures for requesting assistance at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.
 

POWER OUTAGES BELOW 10,000 STATEWIDE,
DAMAGE ASSESSMENT ONGOING

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 2:00 p.m.) – As debris clearing and power restoration continue following the February 11-13 winter storm, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division is supporting recovery operations.  The S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff reports there are currently 7,140 outages statewide. 

Volunteer groups continue to help residents at the request of county emergency managers.  The Red Cross, the Salvation Army and several local nonprofits have established daytime relief stations, are providing people with meals and helping clear debris on private property.  SCEMD recommends checking with county emergency management offices to see what charitable aid is available in each county. 

SCEMD has requested joint FEMA/SCEMD preliminary damage assessments to begin later this week to evaluate damages after the winter storm that affected the state last week.  The assessments are being conducted to evaluate the feasibility of reimbursement for government expenses incurred in responding to the storm.  Preliminary reports indicate that damages from the storm were not widespread or severe enough for South Carolina to be eligible for the FEMA programs that provide assistance to individuals.  The state requested detailed assessments jointly conducted by local, state and FEMA personnel in the following counties: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Marion, Orangeburg, Sumter and Williamsburg.

A preliminary damage assessment is an information-gathering process and does not guarantee any assistance. Information gathered during the assessment will be provided to SCEMD for review and Governor Haley will use the information to determine whether to make an official request for additional federal assistance for debris clearing and infrastructure repair only.  For more information on this process as it pertains to South Carolina, visit  www.fema.gov/states/southcarolina.   

 

SHELTERS CLOSING & RECOVERY UPDATE

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 10:00 a.m.) – The South Carolina Emergency Management Division continues to be the lead coordinating agency for winter storm response and recovery operations. SCEMD estimates the winter storm created over a million cubic yards of debris statewide.  Total damage and debris amounts are being calculated for the possibility of additional Federal assistance to county debris disposal and power grid repair only. 
SCEMD encourages residents to contact their insurance companies and local public works on the proper way to move storm-related debris in their area.  Many volunteer groups are helping people with functional needs to clear yards of fallen trees. Contact your local, county emergency manager for details on the volunteer groups helping clear private property of storm debris.
All SCEMD Regional Emergency Managers are deployed to aid county emergency managers, provide assistance, and personnel support to counties from the Piedmont, Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), Low Country, Midlands and Pee Dee regions.  SCEMD and the State Emergency Operations Center are transitioning from response missions to recovery related activities assisting counties conduct damage assessment, develop debris action plans and participated in a joint (county, state and federal) preliminary damage assessment process. 

 Currently, as of 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 18:

  • 20,400 winter storm-related power outages are being reported across the state. This is down from 346,000 outages reported at 11 a.m. on Thursday (highest total since incident began). Utility crews continue working to resolve the issues and assess the damages.
  • There is one general population shelter open but zero occupants. It is anticipated that the remaining shelter will be closed by noon today. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Southern Baptist Convention continue to support feeding operations in Georgetown and Dorchester counties.
  • All DHEC special medical needs shelters are closed. 
  • The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has responded to 73 resource requests over the course of the incident. These resource requests include generators, debris removal, transportation assistance, energy restoration, National Guard support, drinking water, personnel assistance, security and traffic control. Also, the SEOC has submitted an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request for 20,000 additional tons of road salt.

 

Winter Storm 2014

EMERGENCY MANAGERS, RESIDENTS & VOLUNTEERS CLEAR STORM DEBRIS

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Monday, February 17, 2014, 11:00 a.m.) – Debris removal and disposal is a challenge which is managed by local/county government and is assisted by the State if requested.  The South Carolina Emergency Management Division encourages residents to contact their insurance companies and local public works on the proper way to move vegetative debris in their area.  Many volunteer groups are helping people with functional needs to clear storm-related debris from their yards.  Contact your local, county emergency manager for details on the volunteer groups helping clear private property of storm debris.

Insurance is the primary source of recovery from disasters. If an individual is uninsured or underinsured, available assistance will depend on the scope and magnitude of the disaster. If the event is below federal government disaster declaration thresholds, assistance may be available from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in your local community and members of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). Many homeowners’ policies can cover debris removal from private property. 

The South Carolina Department of Insurance recommends policy holders with home, business or automobile damage contact their agent/producer or company as soon as possible.  If you have questions about your policy, contact your agent/producer or insurance company.  You can also contact the South Carolina Department of Insurance Consumer Services Division at 1-800-768-3467 (8:00a.m. – 6:00p.m. Mon-Thurs, 8:00a.m. – 5:00p.m. Fri.) or via email consumers@doi.sc.gov.

Currently, as of 8:00 a.m. on Monday, February 17:

  • 51,719 power outages are being reported across the state. This is down from 346,000 outages reported at 11 a.m. on Thursday (highest total since incident began). Utility crews continue working to resolve the issues and assess the damages.
  • There are 2 general population shelters and warming centers housing 33 citizens. Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Southern Baptist Convention continue to support feeding operations in Georgetown and Berkeley counties.
  • There are 2 DHEC special medical needs shelters currently operating with 4 occupants. 
  • The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has responded to 67 resource requests over the course of the incident. These resource requests include generators, debris removal, transportation assistance, energy restoration, National Guard support, and drinking water. Also, the SEOC has submitted an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request for 20,000 additional tons of road salt.
  • Communications around the state continue to function. There are a couple of outages for cell and wire line providers due to power outages. 3 sites remain on generator power.

 

 POWER RESTORATION & DEBRIS CLEAN UP CONTINUE

  COLUMBIA, S.C. (Sunday, February 16, 2014, 10:30 a.m.) – Counties are transitioning to debris removal and damage assessment operations. Restoration of power, debris management, disaster-related information and damage assessment continue to be the primary focus of emergency managers throughout South Carolina. 

  • Utilities report 89,148 power outages statewide. This is down from 346,000 outages reported at 11 a.m. on Thursday (highest total since incident began). Utility crews continue working to resolve the issues and assess the damages.
  • The S.C. Emergency Management Division estimates there are hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of debris statewide, based on reports by county emergency managers.
     
  • There are 8 general population shelters and warming centers housing 88 citizens. Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Southern Baptist Convention continue to support feeding operations in Georgetown and Berkeley counties.
     
  • There are 4 DHEC special medical needs shelters currently operating with 18 occupants. 
     
  • The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has responded to 65 resource requests over the course of the incident. These resource requests include generators, debris removal, transportation assistance, energy restoration, National Guard support, and drinking water. Also, the SEOC has submitted an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request for 20,000 additional tons of road salt.
     
  • National Guard soldiers are assisting with debris clearing in Aiken.
     
  •  A FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) has joined the State Emergency Response Team at the S.C. Emergency Operations Center to assist in the processing of Federal requests for assistance; today begins the first operational period under a joint incident action plan.The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, many state and local volunteer groups are helping residents directly affected by this winter storm.  Contact your local organizations if you need aid.  

 

 

 

2014 Winter Storm

EARTH SHAKES DURING SOUTH CAROLINA’S STORM RESPONSE

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Saturday, February 15, 2014, 10:30 a.m.) – Several state public safety agencies have resumed normal operations as the response to the February 11-13 winter storm shifts to the recovery of South Carolina’s infrastructure.  The State Emergency Operations Center is still staffed around the clock to support county emergency managers should State or Federal assistance be needed. 

Currently, as of 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 15:

Edgefield County – Earthquake

  • At 10:23 last night, the United States Geological Survey reported a magnitude 4.1 earthquake 7 miles WNW of Edgefield, SC. The seismic activity was felt throughout the state and into Georgia and North Carolina; however, no injuries or significant damages were reported. No state assistance was requested.  This is the 13th recorded earthquake to occur in South Carolina in the last 12 months. 
  • The S.C. Department of Transportation has deployed a team of engineers to evaluate bridges after last night’s earthquake.  Per the South Carolina Earthquake Plan, this is standard procedure whenever a tremor of significant magnitude occurs. 

Winter Storm  

  • 164,751 power outages are being reported across the state.  This is down from 346,000 outages reported at 11 a.m. Thursday (highest total since incident began).  Utility crews continue working to resolve the issues and assess the damages.
  • There are 28 general population and warming centers housing 415 citizens.  100 Red Cross employees and volunteers along with 60 DSS personnel are working the winter weather response.
  • There are 7 DHEC special medical needs shelters are operating with 34 occupants. 
  • The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has responded to 55 resource requests over the course of the incident.  These resources include generators, debris removal, transportation assistance, energy restoration, National Guard support and drinking water.  Also, the SEOC has submitted an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request for 20,000 additional tons of road salt.
  • The S.C. Department of Public of Public Safety has returned to normal operations after 4,941 calls for service related to the winter storm.  SCHP was on scene for 1,508 vehicle collisions, 1,197 trees in roadways, 342 abandoned vehicles, 176 power lines in the roadways and troopers assisted 1,500 motorists.  SCDPS was supported by SLED and the S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources and the National Guard during winter storm operations.                 
  • S.C. National Guardsman continue to assist with debris clearing in Aiken.
  • Communications around the state continue to function well.  Multiple telecommunications outages have been resolved and service has been restored.
  • Officers from Parks, Recreation and Tourism continue to provide physical security of the SEOC along with tracking SERT personnel entering and exiting the building.
  • The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) continues to provide physical security of the SEOC along with tracking SERT personnel entering and exiting the building.  Hilton Head Island USAR Region 4 Team assisted Aiken County with public access clearing, needs and damage assessment.
  • Budget and Control Board staff continues to monitor and respond to public works and engineering support requests through the ESF 3 support function.  Several requests for temporary power in support of drinking water systems have been confirmed as resolved in coordination with DHEC staff and the ESF 12 energy support function team.  ESF 3 established a 24-hour per day staffing schedule through Monday night.
  • SCEMD and SERT Agencies will be pushing out information in real time via social feeds.  For the quickest access to information, discussions and more, follow: : @SCEMD, @SCDPS_PIO, @SCDOTpress, @SCNationalGuard, @RedCrossSC, @NWSGSP, @NWSColumbia, @NWSCharlestonSC, @NWSwilmingtonNC, @femaregion4
     


4.1 Magnitude Earthquake Felt in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Friday, February 14, 2014, 12:20 p.m.) – The U.S. Geological Survey has confirmed that a 4.1 magnitude earthquake occurred at 10:23 p.m. today.  The epicenter of the earthquake was 7 miles away from Edgefield, South Carolina, and was felt throughout the state. 
At this time, there have been no reports of injuries or significant damage.  There have been no requests for state assistance.  The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) is working closely with state agencies, county emergency managers in all 46 counties to determine the earthquake’s effects on the state.

  • This is the 13th earthquake in the past 12 months.  
  • South Carolina normally experiences 15-20 earthquakes per year.
  • This is the highest magnitude earthquake since November 11th, 2002, when we experienced a magnitude 4.4 earthquake with an epicenter near Charleston.
  • The largest earthquake recorded on the East Coast had a 7.3 magnitude, centered in Summerville, S.C., occurring in 1886. 

USEFUL LINKS

South Carolina Emergency Management Division:
www.scemd.org
South Carolina Earthquake Guide:
www.tinyurl.com/sceqguide
U.S. Geological Survey:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter (drill down to today’s earthquake, see maps, and a “did you feel it” reporting form for citizens)
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learning  (learn more about earthquakes and how to prepare).

 


EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM ACTIVATION

ALL COMMERICAL BROADCAST STATIONS STATEWIDE ARE REQUESTED TO BROADCAST THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL
REQUEST IMMEDIATE EAS ACTIVATION
Date: February 14, 2014, 11 AM
Broadcast Duration: AUDIO ALERT IMMEDIATELY, THEN CONTINUOUS TEXT CRAWL ONCE AN HOUR THROUGH SATURDAY 2/15/14 OR UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
BEGIN TEXT
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S.C. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIVISION: A STATE OF EMERGENCY IS IN EFFECT – FALLEN TREES, DOWNED POWER LINES AND DEBRIS STILL POSE DANGER TO MOTORISTS ON SOME ROADS THAT ARE CLEAR OF SNOW AND ICE. -- S.C. DEPT OF PUBLIC SAFETY & S.C. DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION URGE MOTORISTS TO REDUCE SPEED AND USE CAUTION WHEN DRIVING ON SECONDARY ROADS.  IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY CALL *HP OR 911 -- FOR THE STATUS OF GOVERNMENT OFFICES STATEWIDE VISIT SCEMD.ORG
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THIS IS NOT A DRILL


STATE IMPROVES, LIFE SAFETY WORK CONTINUES

Columbia, S.C. (FRIDAY, February 14, 10:50 A.M.) – The winter storm has completely passed through the state. Weather conditions are mostly clear throughout the state. Some counties have now transitioned from de-icing operations to debris removal operations. Fallen trees are a significant problem in many counties, especially south of the I-20 corridor. Most counties continue to report snow and ice on secondary roads and bridges with the exception of coastal areas and the southern part of the Upstate. Interstates and primary routes are in fair to relatively good condition with some isolated patches of snow and ice. Overnight temperatures dropped below freezing in much of the state, areas remain covered with snow and debris.  Fallen trees are a significant problem. Travel may be hazardous, especially on secondary roads. State offices are closed for the day in 16 counties and delayed in 20 others.

Currently, as of 10:00 a.m. on Friday, February 14:

227,835 power outages are being reported across the state. This is down from 346,000 outages reported at 11 a.m. on Thursday (highest total since incident began). Utility crews continue working to resolve the issues and assess the damages.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) forces in most districts are still working continuously on rotating 12-hour shifts.  Contractors and local government partners are also assisting with snow and vegetation debris removal operations in many counties.  The Ravenel Bridge is now open.SCDOT has 796 maintenance employees and 436 pieces of equipment actively involved in road operations.  Crews have used 15,617 tons of salt, 6,163 tons of sand, 70,401 gallons of calcium chloride and 1,379,982 gallons of salt brine since the incident began.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol continues to send additional units throughout the state to assist in responding to incidents. Since operations began officers have responded to 4,510 incidents, including 311 abandoned vehicles, 1366 motorists assisted, 1,305 collisions, 128 traffic hazards, and 1,183 trees in the roadway. These numbers are significantly higher than normal operations.

There are 40 general population shelters and warming centers housing 555 citizens. 110 American Red Cross employees and volunteers are currently working the winter weather response.

There are 9 DHEC special medical needs shelters currently operating with 42 occupants. 26 DHEC personnel are manning these locations. In addition, DHEC has coordinated transportation requests for several shelter staff and shelterees. 4 hospitals and 1 nursing home were operating on generator power over the past 24 hours, all have been restored. One nursing home was evacuated successfully on Thursday due to a fire.

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has responded to 48 resource requests over the course of the incident. These resource requests include generators, debris removal, transportation assistance, and National Guard support. Also, the SEOC has submitted an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request for 20,000 additional tons of road salt.

232 National Guard soldiers are supporting first responders and other state and local agencies. 7 wrecker teams are assisting SCHP. SCNG debris removal teams are assisting with Aiken County road clearing efforts. SC NG dump trucks are supporting DOT with hauling salt from Charleston. Additionally, SCNG is provided 4-wheel drive vehicle support for Anderson and Abbeville counties.

SLED and SCDNR continue to support Highway Patrol with personnel and equipment to resolve traffic and roadway issues. Additionally, SLED and SCDNR have provided transportation support for critical medical personnel and other critical medical needs.

Officers from Parks, Recreation and Tourism continue to provide physical security of the SEOC along with tracking SERT personnel entering and exiting the building.

The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) continues to coordinate support of state operations, primarily with critical personnel transport. An urban search and rescue team from Hilton Head Island is assisting Aiken County with clearing public access areas, damage assessment and checking on residents.

SCEMD and SERT Agencies will be pushing out information in real time via social feeds. For the quickest access to information, discussions and more, follow: : @SCEMD, , @SCDPS_PIO, @SCDOTpress, @SCNationalGuard, @RedCrossSC, @NWSGSP, @NWSColumbia, @NWSCharlestonSC, @NWSwilmingtonNC, @femaregion4
 


REFREEZE POSSIBLE OVERNIGHT

Columbia, S.C. (Thursday, February 13, 7:00 P.M.) – Although some sunshine and above-freezing temperatures melted ice on roadways today, everyone should still use extreme caution this evening and into tomorrow morning.  The South Carolina Emergency Management Division, S.C. Department of Public Safety and the State Dept. of Transportation warn dangerous conditions will continue in the form of falling debris and black ice on roadways.  SCDOT and SCDPS report major roadways have improved some, but secondary roads and bridges are still a concern for drivers.  Slush, Black Ice, tree limbs, power lines and debris could be just around a corner or over a hill, which will be more dangerous after dark.  Everyone is urged to delay any travel until mid-morning tomorrow or noon if at all possible.  This will allow temperatures to rise and ice to melt depending on where you live.  Major roadways have improved, but secondary roads should be avoided completely.  If you must go out, check local weather forecasts, real-time road conditions via sc511.org beforehand.  Utilize safe driving techniques.  Reduce your speed and give additional distance for passing and following.  Brake early and be cautious of inclines and declines.  Lane markings may be difficult to see, be sure to stay in your lane.

South Carolina Emergency Response Team Actions as of 7:00 P.M. on February 13

  • County emergency managers are reporting debris and power outages to SCEMD.  Early assessments indicate at least 17 counties have high to moderate amounts of debris and power outages.  These are initial estimates that will be revised as damage assessment and restoration continues. 
  • SCEMD will be posting updates from all agencies and office status reports via @SCEMD and scemd.org as soon as the information is available
  • SCDOT will continue around the clock operations clearing roads of ice and debris.  Currently 1,364 maintenance workers actively involved in road operations and has utilized more than 7,763 tons of salt on roadways.
  • Since the beginning of this winter storm, SCDPS Highway Patrol has responded to a total 3904 weather-related calls for service including 1109 collisions, 1115 trees in roadways, 247 abandoned vehicles, and Troopers assisted 1159 motorists, 159 power lines in roadways. 
  • The Office of Regulatory Staff is reporting more than 346,000 power outages statewide as of 5:30 p.m.  More than 4,600 personnel are working on restoration. 
  • The South Carolina Department of Social Services and the American Red Cross have 22 shelters open statewide with 239 people staying overnight.
     


EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM ACTIVATION

ALL COMMERICAL BROADCAST STATIONS STATEWIDE ARE REQUESTED TO BROADCAST THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL
REQUEST IMMEDIATE EAS ACTIVATION
Date: February 13, 2014, 6 PM
Broadcast Duration: AUDIO ALERT IMMEDIATELY, THEN CONTINUOUS TEXT CRAWL ONCE AN HOUR THROUGH 11:00 A.M.. FRIDAY 2/12/14.

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S.C. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIVISION: A STATE OF EMERGENCY IS IN EFFECT -- THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WARNS OF BLACK ICE ON ROADWAYS OVERNIGHT AND INTO FRIDAY MORNING.   BLACK ICE CAN BE EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS FOR MOTORISTS. ADDITIONAL DANGER EXISTS ON SOME HIGHWAYS  BECAUSE OF FALLEN TREES, DOWNED POWER LINES AND DEBRIS. -- S.C. DEPT OF PUBLIC SAFETY & S.C. DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION URGE MOTORISTS TO LIMIT TRAVEL ON SECONDARY ROADS AND TO USE EXTREME CAUTION-- IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY CALL *HP OR 911 -- FOR THE STATUS OF GOVERNMENT OFFICES STATEWIDE VISIT SCEMD.ORG
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THIS IS NOT A DRILL

 

MORE POWER OUTAGES EXPECTED

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, February 12, 10:25 P.M.) – Continued severe winter weather is likely to cause power additional outages across the state.  The South Carolina Emergency Management Division joins the state's electricity providers in asking residents who lose their power to be patient as line crews work to make restorations.
Utilities report the process of restoring power is slow due to weather conditions in this ongoing emergency. Restoration times will be difficult to estimate while freezing rain and ice are still accumulating.  The National Weather Service predicts freezing rain to increase overnight throughout South Carolina, potentially creating additional hazards and outages.

As you wait for power to be restored, follow these tips to help you cope with a blackout:

  • Do not call 9-1-1 for information— call only to report a life-threatening emergency. Use the phone for life-threatening emergencies only.  Report outages to your power company. 
  • Stay away from downed power lines – Ice can cause tree limbs and entire trees to break and fall, sometimes taking power lines and even meter boxes down with them. Always assume any downed power line you see is live and stay away. Report downed lines to your power company.
  • Use extreme caution with supplemental heaters and generators – It can be tempting to supplement a heating system lost during an outage, but household items such as cooking stoves or ovens and outdoor grills should never be used for heat. If you use a fireplace for heat, be sure to extinguish any flames before going to bed. Generators can help during emergencies, but require care and planning for safe use.
  • Do not run a generator inside a home or garage - Keep them at least 20 feet away from your home to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.  If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • Use only flashlights for emergency lighting.  Use caution if burning candles during a blackout or power outage due to extreme risk of fire.  Be sure to extinguish all candles and fireplaces before bed.  Remember to never leave candles unattended & keep them away from furniture, draperies & other flammable materials.
  • Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.  If using your fireplace, make sure the flue is open.  Space heaters are acceptable if they are in working condition and for indoor use.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment , or electronics in use when the power went out.  Power may return with momentary "surges” or “spikes” that can damage computers as well as motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.  
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.
  • Keep your mobile devices charged and use the phone for emergencies only. Listen to a portable radio for the latest information.
  • Provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pets.
  • SCEMD is posting a continuous stream of storm information via social media, follow us now for updates. 
     


President Declares Emergency for South Carolina, Conditions Remain Dangerous

Columbia, S.C. (Wednesday, February 12, 7:00 P.M.) – Dangerous weather conditions will continue across South Carolina into Thursday.  Hazardous roadways and significant power outages are expected to persist for the entire state. The White House has approved Governor Nikki Haley’s request for an Emergency Declaration for South Carolina.  This Declaration authorizes limited logistical support through FEMA should additional resources be needed. 

South Carolina Emergency Response Team Actions as of 6:00 P.M. on February 12: 

  • The South Carolina Emergency Management Division continues urges everyone in South Carolina to keep safety in mind throughout this dangerous winter weather.  Only only those with an absolute need should travel on South Carolina’s dangerous roadways.  The most current status of state government offices is listed at www.scemd.org
  • The South Carolina Department of Transportation has 1364 maintenance workers actively involved in road operations and has utilized more than 7,763 tons of salt on roadways.
  • The South Carolina Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol has responded to 2,044 weather-related calls for service in the last 24 hours, including 731 collisions, 446 trees in roadways, 117 abandoned vehicles, and Troopers assisted 553 motorists.
  • The South Carolina National Guard has deployed 128 soldiers statewide.
  • The Office of Regulatory Staff is reporting more than 218,823 power outages statewide as of 5:30 p.m.  More than 4,600 personnel are working on restoration. 
  • The South Carolina Department of Social Services and the American Red Cross established 17 general population shelters.  Twenty seven people have arrived at these shelters.
  • The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control are staffing seven special needs shelters.  As of 5:30 p.m. there are five occupants.
  • The South Carolina Department of Insurance reminds policy holders to contact your agent/producer or company as soon as possible if you have damage to your home or vehicle.  You may also contact the division via email by using the following address: consumers@doi.sc.gov
  • The best source of information from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division will be through our social media platforms.  You can monitor updates on twitter from @SCEMD and through Facebook by liking our page.


 

EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM ACTIVATION
ALL COMMERICAL BROADCAST STATIONS STATEWIDE ARE REQUESTED TO BROADCAST THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
THIS IS NOT A DRILL
REQUEST IMMEDIATE EAS ACTIVATION
Date: February 12, 2014, 10:00AM
Broadcast Duration: ONE IMMEDIATELY, THEN CONTINUOUS TEXT CRAWL ONCE AN HOUR THROUGH 11:59 P.M. THURSDAY 2/13/14 AND UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
BEGIN TEXT
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S.C. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIVISION: A STATE OF EMERGENCY IS IN EFFECT -- THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED SEVERE WINTER WEATHER ALERTS FOR MOST OF SOUTH CAROLINA, PREDICTING SNOW, SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN -- POWER OUTAGES AND DANGEROUS ROAD CONDITIONS ARE LIKELY -- MONITOR LOCAL MEDIA FOR CHANGES IN CONDITIONS – S.C. DEPT OF PUBLIC SAFETY & S.C. DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION URGE MOTORISTS TO STAY OFF ROADWAYS -- IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY CALL *HP OR 911 -- FOR THE STATUS OF GOVERNMENT OFFICES STATEWIDE VISIT SCEMD.ORG
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THIS IS NOT A DRILL

 

 

Stay Off Roads, Prepare for Power Outages
Columbia, S.C. (Wednesday, February 12, 9:00 A.M.) - All motorists are urged to stay off of the roads as the threat of icy conditions continues to increase throughout the day. Ice can be deceptively dangerous, difficult to anticipate, and extremely difficult to drive on. Bridges and overpasses will ice first.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division, in coordination with the S.C. Department of Public Safety and S.C. Department of Transportation strongly cautions motorists to stay off the roads until conditions improve. 
The National Weather Service (NWS) ice storm and winter weather warnings are in effect for most of South Carolina. Forecasters are predicting extremely hazardous conditions which will cause power outages and substantial structural damage due to falling trees and ice.
SCDOT will focus on keeping highways passable for emergency purposes only. The overall goal is to keep all roads passable, but the extent of that challenge is unknown as weather conditions are expected to deteriorate throughout the day.  Motorists who need to travel for emergency purposes are advised to first call 911 for emergency assistance.  If it’s absolutely necessary to drive, motorists should reduce their speed, avoid SCDOT trucks on the road and closely follow travel information as the weather system brings changing conditions.
Utility companies began Monday positioning personnel and equipment to best address anticipated service outages.  However, worsening and widespread weather conditions could hamper restoration efforts. Residents should be prepared for the loss of electricity to their home for extended periods of time.
The following safety tips are recommended:
While you still have electricity, keep mobile devices plugged in with a full charge.  When power goes out, use your phone sparingly, for emergency calls, etc. 
Report downed power lines to the local power provider. Do not touch the wires or drive over them.
Portable generators should not be used in any enclosed space, including a garage. Follow operating instructions and do not plug the generator into home electrical sockets.
Gas stovetops, gas ovens and charcoal grills are unsafe heat sources for indoor use. These heat sources can release harmful or even fatal emissions when used in an enclosed space.
Use battery powered lights instead of candles.  If you must use candles as emergency lighting, be aware they can be dangerous. 
Individuals who have life sustaining medical needs like oxygen or who are in need of dialysis should call 9-1-1 in the event they do not have electricity.
Overnight, SCEMD activated the Emergency Alert System in all broadcast markets.  Commercial broadcasters are strongly urged to continue running the issued Civil Emergency message once an hour until midnight tonight.
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EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM ACTIVATION
ALL COMMERICAL BROADCAST STATIONS STATEWIDE ARE REQUESTED TO BROADCAST THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
THIS IS NOT A DRILL
REQUEST IMMEDIATE EAS ACTIVATION
Date: February 11, 2014, 8:30PM
Broadcast Duration: ONE AUDIO ALERT IMMEDIATELY, THEN CONTINUOUS TEXT CRAWL ONCE AN HOUR THROUGH 11:59 P.M. WEDNESDAY 2/12/14 AND UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
BEGIN TEXT
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S.C. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIVISION: A STATE OF EMERGENCY IS IN EFFECT -- THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED SEVERE WINTER WEATHER ALERTS FOR MOST OF SOUTH CAROLINA, PREDICTING SNOW, SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN -- POWER OUTAGES AND DANGEROUS ROAD CONDITIONS ARE LIKELY -- MONITOR LOCAL MEDIA FOR CHANGES IN CONDITIONS – S.C. DEPT OF PUBLIC SAFETY & S.C. DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION URGE MOTORISTS TO STAY OFF ROADWAYS -- IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY CALL *HP OR 911 -- FOR THE STATUS OF GOVERNMENT OFFICES STATEWIDE VISIT SCEMD.ORG
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END
THIS IS NOT A DRILL

 


Governor Declares State of Emergency,SEOC Activated at OpCon3

Columbia, S.C. (Tuesday, February 11, 12:00 P.M.) – Governor Nikki Haley has declared a State of Emergency to mobilize additional state resources should they been needed in response to hazardous weather.  The Governor’s State of Emergency Executive Order activates the Emergency Operations Plan for all state agencies to work together should county emergency managers request assistance or resources. 
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division and members of the State Emergency Response Team have activated the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at Operation Condition 3 (OpCon 3).  OpCon 3 is the state’s prepared level when a disaster or emergency situation is likely. The South Carolina and the appropriate specific impact hazard emergency plan is activated.
Governor Nikki Haley has ordered all state government offices to follow county government closing decisions.  SCEMD is urging everyone to take proper safety measures to handle frozen precipitation, hazardous road conditions and extremely cold temperatures.

Currently:

  • The State EOC will be operating 24 hours a day for the duration of this winter weather event.  SCEMD is synchronizing key state agency actions and supporting local response efforts by the counties. 
  • The South Carolina Department of Transportation has crews salting roads throughout the state.  Conditions on many roadways are expected to be extremely hazardous.  You are urged not to drive unless absolutely necessary.
  • The South Carolina Highway Patrol is sending additional personnel to staging areas, including resources from the State Law Enforcement Division and the Department of Natural Resources.  Although traffic is light at this point, there have been reports of accidents and disabled motorists.
  • S.C. Department of Social Services staff, American Red Cross and Salvation Army volunteers are standing by to operate shelters should they become necessary.
  • State Office of Regulatory Staff is working with the power utilities to track potential power outages and restoration time estimates should the storm cause power outages. 

Additional Resources

  • scdot.org  – Real time travel information from the S.C. Department of Transportation
  • scdps.gov - Hazardous weather information from the S.C. Highway Patrol
  • #SEstorm social media feeds: @SCEMD, @SCDOTpress, @SCDPS_PIO, @NWSGSP, @NWSColumbia, @NWSCharlestonSC, @NWSwilmingtonNC

 

County & State Government Offices Announcing Closings

Columbia, S.C. (Tuesday, February 11, 10:45 A.M.) – County administration and state government offices are beginning to close as severe winter weather begins to effect the state.  Decisions about the closing of state government offices are made county by county based on the same schedule as county government offices.  SCETV is broadcasting updated closing information about state offices via TV and radio.  As soon as the information is reported to SCEMD, closings are also posted on scemd.org. 
The National Weather Service predicts conditions to worsen as the day progresses, creating hazardous conditions with ice and snow accumulating rapidly throughout South Carolina.  Motorists are advised to remain off the road and to monitor local weather forecasts for updated conditions.  Residents are encouraged to check on elderly and at-risk neighbors and relatives due to the increased potential for power outages and cold temperatures.  Make sure they have a safe, warm place to stay while conditions remain cold and hazardous.  SCEMD also recommends preparing a place indoors for pets and farm animals with extra food and water. 

Additional Resources

  • scemd.org – Additional winter weather information and emergency preparation tips. 
  • scdot.org  – Real time travel information from the S.C. Department of Transportation
  • schp.org - Hazardous weather information from the S.C. Highway Patrol
  • #SEstorm social media feeds: @SCEMD, @SCDOTpress, @SCDPS_PIO, @NWSGSP, @NWSColumbia, @NWSCharlestonSC, @NWSwilmingtonNC
     


Dangerous Winter Storm Forecasted for South Carolina

Columbia, S.C. (Monday, February 10, 3:30 P.M.) - The South Carolina Emergency Management Division asks residents to prepare themselves and their homes for winter weather that is expected to be dangerous. The National Weather Service says the forecast for this week calls for snow and ice accumulations with freezing temperatures lasting into Thursday.  Residents should prepare for the possibility of power outages, problems with pipes that are not fully insulated or at risk to burst and very dangerous driving conditions.

State and local agencies are putting emergency plans in place for winter weather and urge everyone in South Carolina to consider preparations to keep your home, community, family, vehicles and pets safe.

  • Every household should have an emergency preparedness plan in place.  Start by posting important numbers by the telephone, such as utility companies and emergency responders.
  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).  Be alert to changing weather conditions.  NOTE:  The status of State Government offices will be broadcast via SCETV television and radio, and listed on scemd.org. 
  • Once ice begins to accumulate on bridges, overpasses and secondary streets, travel may become treacherous.  If you are on the roadway, drive slowly and watch for black ice.
  • The plan should include a winter weather kit that can be easily put together and should include the following items:
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered NOAA weather radio and a portable AM/FM radio
  • Extra food and water, such as non-perishable/high-energy foods and snacks
  • Extra medication
  • Extra baby items, especially if you have infants or small children
  • Basic First-Aid supplies
  • Blankets, sleeping bags and extra clothing for warmth
  • Charge all cell phones ahead of time
  • Gather and store extra firewood in a dry sheltered area
  • Always keep safety in mind when using home heating appliances.  Build a small fire in the fireplace to heat a room.  A fire that is too big or too hot could damage the chimney and catch the house on fire.  Make sure the fire in the fireplace is completely out before leaving the home or when going to sleep.  Never burn charcoal inside the home.
  • Space heaters can be dangerous if not used properly.  Keep plenty of space around the heater and remember to turn the heater off if you leave the room for an extended period of time or when going to sleep.  Never place combustibles such as clothing, furniture or bedding too close to the space heater.
  • Kerosene heaters should be used in well-ventilated areas.  In order to refuel a kerosene heater, allow the heater to properly cool.  Always refuel outdoors.  Remember to use the proper type of fuel for kerosene heaters.  Never mix kerosene with other types of fuels.  Kerosene heaters should not be left burning for an extended period of time, especially when leaving the home or going to sleep.
  • If you lose power and decide to employ a portable generator, remember to keep the generator outside and a safe distance away from the house.  Never use generators inside a basement or garage.  The generator should be placed outside in a well-ventilated area.  Use only the amount of power necessary to maintain essential appliances and lights.
  • Avoid contact with downed power lines.  If you lose power don’t go outside in the dark to investigate.  Contact with an energized electrical line may cause severe injury or even death.  All downed utility lines should be considered “live.”  Report downed power lines to the fire department and the appropriate utility company.
  • The prolonged cold temperatures could cause a thin sheet of ice to form on open bodies of water.  Avoid any frozen body of water such as a lake, creek, ditch, or pond.  The ice will not be thick enough or strong enough to support the weight of a child or small pet.  Post warning signs around frozen bodies of water.  Simply put, stay off the ice!
  • Limit time outdoors in the cold.  Prolonged exposure to cold may cause hypothermia or frostbite.  Wear multiple layers of clothing and remember to cover your hands, face, and ears whenever possible.
  • Consider safety precautions for small pets.  Bring pets indoors if at all possible.  The improper use of heat lamps should be avoided due to the potential hazard or injury to pets.

 

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