WINTER WEATHER: Preparing for hazardous conditions

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — For Dominion Energy, preparing for winter weather is a full time job.

Matt Long, Dominion Energy Spokesman :00-07

Trooper David Jones, South Carolina Highway Patrol :48-55

Pete Poore, SCDOT Director of Communications  1:22-27

“What we do year round is trim back lines. Our crews will make sure they clear back vegetation growing into the lines to reduce the chances of that happening during a storm like we’re facing now,” said Matt Long, Dominion Energy spokesman.

Branches falling from trees is the biggest threat to power lines. Another hazard is the build up of ice.

“It only takes about a quarter inch of ice to damage or potentially bring down a power line,” Long said.

If you see a downed power line, you should contact Dominion Energy. The same goes for if you lose power.

“Customers should also download the Dominion Energy app,” Long said. “It is the quickest way to report a power outage.”

Around 17,000 customers lost power in last week’s storm according to Dominion Energy.

The roads are also expected to be treacherous. Highway patrol advises staying at home if possible.

“It’s important to plan ahead and make sure you have those necessities. That way if inclement weather comes, you don’t have to run down to the store for that gallon of milk or whatever you go out for,” said Trooper David Jones with South Carolina Highway Patrol.

If you have to be out on the road, be cautious.

“Reduce your speed, limit your distractions and slow down,” Jones said. “Often times, we see that speed contributes to a lot of the crashes we respond to during winter weather events.”

You should also be on the lookout for Department of Transportation vehicles that will be out on interstates, primary roads and roads that lead to hospitals or emergency services.

“They have to slow down even more so than you do. It would be a good idea to give them space and don’t crowd them on the interstates,” said Pete Poore, SCDOT director of communications. 

SCDOT crews will be working 12 hour shifts salting the roads and even removing precipitation if necessary.

“If the ice starts forming, we certainly use plows,” Poore said.

If you get caught in that ice, Trooper Jones has these tips.

“If you encounter black ice, never slam on brakes,” he said. “Simply press your brakes and let your anti-lock brakes do the work. If you start to spin out of control, counter steer.”

Just because conditions are clear in your area, does not mean that other parts of the state are the same way.

“Conditions may change drastically from one area to the next,” Jones said. “It’s important to plan ahead and know where you’re heading to.”

No matter where you are heading, Trooper Jones advises having an emergency kit that includes blankets, food and water in case you do get stranded.

Categories: Local News, Richland