WINTER PREPAREDNESS WEEK: What you need to know before a storm

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — While it may not be that cold outside this evening, winter is just around the corner.

The state emergency management division and other agencies are asking South Carolina residents to prepare for severe winter weather now as part of Winter Readiness Week.

 If you do not like winter, the National Weather Service has some good news for you.

“NOAA’S outlook for this upcoming winter season is calling for warmer and drier than normal conditions on average across South Carolina. This is due to the presence of La Nina conditions,” said Trisha Palmer, National Weather Service meteorologist. 

However even with La Nina conditions, winter storms can hit any part of the Palmetto State as we saw earlier this year in January. 

“Seeing three major winter events in three weeks is incredibly rare,” Palmer said. “This was one of the most active winter weather periods we’ve had in 10 to 15 years despite the fact that it was a La Nina winter.”

State agencies say those events from last year have helped them better prepare for this year. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has plenty of salt for the roadways in the event of a winter storm.”

“We have our inventory full. We have 60,000  tons of salt on hand,” said Leland Colvin with SCDOT. “We have a three-day supply in each county in the state and 10 thousand tons in each of our two megadomes.”

SCDOT’s plows and other equipment can help road conditions but state troopers say that they see an increase in collisions during winter storms. 

“We would ask people to slow down, be prepared, stay in tune with the forecast and stay at home if at all possible,” advises Lt. Col. Donald Banister, South Carolina Highway Patrol.

If you do have to go out, Banister says that a quick check of your vehicle could keep you from being stranded on the roadways.

“Thoroughly check your vehicle and pay close attention to the conditions of your tires,” Banister said. “Ensure that your brakes are working properly, you have adequate fluids and all lights on your car are operational.”

Winter hazards are not just limited to outdoors. The state fire marshal’s office urges everyone to make sure they have a working fire alarm. 

“Today let’s make it a statewide ‘Test It Tuesday’. I need each of you to check your homes for working smoke alarms,” said Joshua Fulbright, South Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal. “Make sure each alarm sounds when you press the test button. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.” 

Whether inside or outside, the state emergency management division advises everyone to make a winter preparedness plan and have supplies ready in the event of an emergency.

“We are prepared to respond to winter weather but we need everyone to be their own emergency manager,” said Kim Stenson, South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) director. 

For more information, you can find the state’s winter weather guide at the SCEMD website.

Categories: Local News, Richland