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South Carolina Prepares for Another Round of Winter Weather
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 1:30 p.m.) - Governor Nikki Haley has declared a State of Emergency to mobilize additional state resources should they been needed in response to the impending hazardous weather. The Governor’s State of Emergency 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 should begin to affect the state this evening. Forecasters with the National Weather Service predict the possibility of three to seven inches of snow in the Upstate and Northern Midlands areas, from McCormick to Marlboro Counties.
SCEMD is working closely with the S.C. Department of Public Safety, the state Dept. of Transportation, the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff, 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.
The State Emergency Operations Center will be activated with select representatives from several of the State Emergency Response Team agencies beginning tonight and into tomorrow morning.
SCEMD encourages citizens to 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 at any Walgreen’s store in the state and for download here on our website.
- Any closings and/or delayed opening of state government offices will be posted at scemd.org/closings and broadcast on SCETV television and radio.
- Hazardous weather driving tips from the S.C. Highway Patrol.
- Get real-time road conditions from SCDOT’s Severe Winter page.
S.C. Agencies Prepare Early for Winter Months
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Monday, December 1, 2014, 1:30 P.M.) - The South Carolina Emergency Management Division, along with the agencies that comprise the State Emergency Response Team, encourages everyone in South Carolina to prepare for the upcoming winter season during South Carolina Winter Weather Awareness Week. This is the first time the State of South Carolina has co-sponsored this week with the National Weather Service.
SCEMD and the SERT have produced a new “Severe Winter Weather in South Carolina” guide to help people prepare for winter-related hazards. The guide contains tips on what to do before, during and after a major winter storm, check lists, information on how to get the current status of government offices and more. The Guide is currently available at every Walgreens store statewide and online for download at scemd.org.
“Be prepared, prepare yourself and if an event occurs, don’t go out,” Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, Jr., the Adjutant General for S.C. said, “Team South Carolina is ready, we hope our citizens are too and we’re here to help you.”
“We’ve already seen one snow storm in several counties on November 1, and we’ve all felt below-freezing temperatures recently,” SCEMD Director Kim Stenson said, “While you’re out holiday shopping this week, think about picking up supplies that will help you should we experience another ice storm in the coming months.”
Maj. Gen. Livingston and Director Stenson were joined by representatives from partner agencies during a joint winter weather news conference Monday morning.
“A quarter of an inch of ice can bring down a power line, and our focus this year is on early preparedness for winter weather,” said Steven Naglic, forecaster with NWS.
“This year, we were hit hard early in the year by winter weather,” Capt. Rob Woods with the S.C. Highway Patrol said. “From a highway safety standpoint, we saw few serious collisions, however, because motorists heeded our warnings to stay off the roadways. The very best advice that troopers can give motorists – based on their experiences patrolling – is to be prepared before winter weather hits with an emergency kit in your car and to realize that we are working in conjunction with SCEMD and other agencies to provide the most up-to-date information on roadway conditions.”
Woods urged motorists to monitor real-time traffic on the South Carolina Highway Patrol website, www.scdps.gov/schp/webcad.asp, and to look for winter weather driving tips on the SCDPS website, www.scdps.gov/WinterWeatherDrivingTips2.pdf.
“There were 31 fire-related fatalities in South Carolina during last December through March, that’s almost half of all fire fatalities for the entire year,” State Fire Marshal Bert Polk said, “We see a spike of heating related fires this time of year… but we have an opportunity to work together to safeguard lives.
“We prioritize our routes, interstates first, then major roads and then secondary roads. It’s important that everyone heed the warnings to stay off the roads,” said David Cook with the S.C. Dept. of Transportation.
“Ice will bring the electric lines down. When the storm comes, if it comes, if the lines are on the ground, stay away from them.” said C. Dukes Scott, Director of the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff.
“Everyone should take this time to winterize their home and protect it from the damages that are associated with winter weather,” said Ray Farmer, Director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance.
On Sunday, December 7, the state Severe Winter Weather Guide will be distributed via subscription and rack sales of all daily newspapers in the state including: the Aiken Standard, the Anderson Independent-Mail, the Post & Courier, The State, the Florence Morning News, the Greenville News, the Greenwood Index-Journal, Hilton Head Island Packet, the Beaufort Gazette, the Myrtle Beach Sun News, the Orangeburg Times & Democrat, the Rock Hill Herald, the Seneca Journal, the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, the Sumter Item, and the Union Daily Times.
Several sponsors directly contributed to the printing and distribution of the Winter Weather Guide, including: State Farm Insurance, S.C. Electric and Gas, Duke Energy, the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and Santee Cooper Power.
Staying connected is a critical part of staying safe during severe winter weather. SCEMD will post emergency alerts and the latest information regarding any large-scale emergency via the Division’s social feeds such as Facebook and Twitter. By following @SCEMD, users are also able to share information about conditions in their communities.
S.C. Should Prepare for Freezing Temps
Columbia, S.C. (Tuesday, January 6, 11:00 a.m.) – The S.C. Emergency Management Division encourages everyone in the state to be prepared for below freezing conditions that are expected beginning Wednesday. Fortunately, forecasters with the National Weather Service do not expect precipitation such as rain or snow.
The "Severe Winter Weather in South Carolina" Guide is currently available for download here at SCEMD’s website and copies are at every Walgreen’s store statewide. The Guide contains useful preparation materials such as:
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 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."
- Stock up on heating fuel and prepare emergency heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters. (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.
- 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.
- Residents are encouraged to check on elderly and at-risk neighbors and relatives due to the increased potential for power outages and cold temperatures.
- Stay updated with the latest emergency information from SCEMD by following our social feeds, facebook.com/SCEMD and on Twitter @SCEMD.
Winter Weather Awareness Week
JOINT NEWS CONFERENCE SCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 1
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division and the agencies of the State Emergency Response Team will be holding a joint Winter Weather Awareness Week media availability the morning of December 1 at 11:00 at the State Emergency Operations Center.
Members of the media will have an opportunity to discuss preparations for the upcoming winter season with S.C. Adjutant General Robert Livingston, SCEMD Director Kim Stenson, State Fire Marshal Bert Polk, Captain Rob Woods with the S.C. Highway Patrol, Tom Johnson with the S.C. Dept. of Transportation, Tom Allen with the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff, S.C. Dept. of Insurance Director Ray Farmer and Steven Naglic with the National Weather Service.
All media covering South Carolina are encouraged to attend this news conference in person.
Representatives will discuss ways residents can currently prepare for severe winter conditions, including road and fire safety, plus information about an all-new publication, the "South Carolina Severe Winter Weather Guide", which will be publicly available beginning Dec. 1.
Governor Nikki Haley has proclaimed the week of November 30 through December 6 as South Carolina Winter Weather Awareness Week. This is the first time the State of South Carolina has co-sponsored this week with NWS.
Agencies of the SERT will be joined by the organizations who contributed directly to the printing and distribution of the new Winter Weather Guide including: State Farm Insurance, SCE&G, Duke Energy, the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Santee Cooper Power and Walgreens.