SCEMD: Never too early to start preparing for winter weather

Emergency officials warn about possible ice on the road, power outages

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —With severe storms pounding the North, South Carolina emergency officials are calling on people to get prepared and be on the lookout for winter weather.

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service says there will be higher than normal temperatures over the next three months, but he says that’s not a queue to put away snow shovels and not be prepared in case a winter storm comes this way.

“It looks maybe slightly warmer than normal, but I will give a little bit of caution because in a warmer than normal winter, we can still have periods of cold weather and we still can have winter weather,” said John Quagliarello with the National Weather Service.

Emergency officials say one storm in particular, which occurred in similar conditions, reinforces the need for everyone to get ready.

“One of our biggest natural disasters that we’ve had in the last several years was in 2014 during the ice storm, which affected most of the state and caused almost $300 million in damages,” said Kim Stenson, the Director of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD).

If snow is in the forecast, officials say it is critical to stock up on emergency supplies like food, batteries, blankets, and road salt.

They say it is also important to stay off the roads, partially due to what could be hiding beneath a blanket of snow.

“It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of ice or snow to make conditions that hazardous, so don’t take for granted if you hear it’s only an inch of snow or so forth and so on, if there’s a significant amount of ice underneath that snow, then we’ve created a situation where it’s extremely hazardous,” said Major Rob Woods of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

However, if people do have to drive, officials advise drivers to exercise caution.

“If you do have to go out during that weather, make sure you’ve got some supplies in your vehicle, food, water, a blanket, because you may be stranded for a period of time, so whatever you need to stay comfortable before help arrives,” Stenson said.

Even though South Carolina is not a typical landing spot for large snow storms, some say it’s critical to be ready. 

“Each and every region of this state can be affected by extreme weather. From the mountains to the beaches, each and every South Carolinian has to be prepared,” said Brig. Gen. Jeff Jones, the Deputy Adjutant General of the South Carolina National Guard.

The SCEMD encourages you to grab their Severe Winter Weather guide, which gives you plenty of tips on how to keep you and your family safe if snow does fall.

You can pick up a copy at your local Walgreen’s, or download it here.

Categories: Local News, News