Midlands braces for potential winter storm this weekend

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — South Carolina residents are accustomed to extreme heat, but maybe not extreme cold.

With winter weather threatening much of the Palmetto State this weekend, you may not be sure what to be prepared for.

Voice of Steve LaVoie, NWS Meteorologist :10-20

Dr. Matthew Bitner, Prisma Health Emergency Medicine Physician  1:25-35

Most of the Midlands will be under a winter storm watch this weekend, with some counties north of Columbia facing a winter storm warning.

“Areas in the orange shading is where freezing rain accumulations could result in some power outages and create areas of dangerous travel conditions. Even those that are not in a headline right now, we could see some limited threat in areas in yellow,” said NWS meteorologist Steve LaVoie. “That includes areas like Augusta, Aiken, Orangeburg and Manning.”

The primary threats from this winter storm are expected to be freezing rain and gusty winds. Ice accumulation is predicted to be up to a quarter of an inch in the Columbia area but could vary.

“The strength of the surface cold air and how strong the precipitation is falling will determine how much ice accumulation will occur in a given location,” LaVoie said.

South Carolina Highway Patrol will have additional staff on roadways to ensure motorists safety. If traveling during a winter storm, you should leave additional space between your vehicle and others on the road.

“Freezing rain is worse than snow in many ways because ice can form on the pavement,” LaVoie said. “We gotta watch out for falling branches and power lines. If you must travel during the event, use extreme caution on the roads during these conditions.”

Even if you are not out on the roads, there are things you should do to protect yourself from winter weather.

“As the temperature drops, it can increase the demand for fluids. It’s important to stay well hydrated, not only with non-caffeinated liquids but you’ll also need fuel. Your body is going to use extra energy as it creates and maintains your body heat,” said Dr. Matthew Bitner, Prisma Health emergency medicine physician.

The gusty winds can create a wind chill that makes it feel even colder outside. If you do venture outdoors during a winter storm, you should have additional layers of clothing.

“Areas that are furthest from your core, fingers, toes, ears and nose, are at risk from tissue damage from frostbite,” Dr. Bitner said.  “Make sure you have all exposed areas covered.”

The National Weather Service says the highest threat for winter weather will last from Saturday night until Sunday afternoon, but black ice could form Sunday night and pose a threat until Monday morning. See more tips about how to stay safe during the winter weather here.

Categories: Local News, Richland