Winter Storm drops sleet, freezing rain over the South Strand

  • Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Updated Friday, January 31, 2014 3:12 am

Alecia Martin sent in this photo of her sleet man

Winter Storm 2014 - Leon, as it is being called by The Weather Channel - turned out to be a mainly sleet and freezing rain event for Georgetown County and the Grand Strand.

The National Weather Service reported - as of 6 a.m. Wednesday - a quarter-of-an-inch of sleet had fallen over the Georgetown area.

Very little snow was reported along the coast of South Carolina.

Officials are saying the mainly-sleet event is good, in comparison to what had been predicted. The forecast was for as much as three-quarters-of-an-inch of freezing rain. That would likely have resulted in widespread power outages.

There were some power outages in the City of Georgetown Tuesday night in the Willowbank and Maryville areas. Crews worked to get that electricity restored in a timely manner.

Dangerous road conditions have been reported county-wide.

While none of the bridges in the county were closed to traffic, officials have been urging motorists to use extreme caution when driving.

The Georgetown Police Department reported two accidents occurred in less than an hour Tuesday night on the Maryville bridge. No one was seriously injured.

Icy conditions were also reported on the Waccamaw River bridges.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation had more than 1,200 workers on the job and on call overnight statewide to deal with the icy roads.

“Anti-icing or deicing are the primary operations on priority routes and bridges,” a DOT official reported.

The weather forced the closing of schools and government offices in Georgetown County for a second straight day Wednesday. A list of closings and cancellations can be found elsewhere on this website.

Georgetown County Emergency Management was placed under OPCON 3 Tuesday morning, a “standby” status in preparation for a likely or imminent emergency situation. The shift to OPCON 3 also triggered partial activation of the county’s Emergency Operations Center.

Bitter cold continues

The precipitation is moving out today but the extreme cold is here to stay for a while.

Today’s high will be near 31 degrees and tonight’s low - under cloudy skies - will be near 17. Thursday’s high near 39.

If anyone needs a place to go to get out of the cold, Hemingway High School is being used as a warming shelter.

Midway Fire Rescue has compiled a list of cold weather safety tips:

• Alternative heaters need their space. Keep anything that can catch fire at least three feet away.

• Make sure your alternative heaters have ‘tip switches.’ These ‘tip switches’ are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over.

• Kerosene heaters may not be legal in your area and should only be used where approved by authorities.

• Only use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer and follow suggested guidelines.

• Never refill a space heater while it is operating or still hot. Refuel heaters only outdoors.

• Make sure wood stoves are properly installed, and at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire. Ensure they have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation.

• Use a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting nearby carpets, furniture or other items that can catch fire.

• Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.

Generator Safety

• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using generators.

• Use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.

• Use the appropriate sized and type power cords to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.

• Never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity or ‘backfeed’ can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.

and Remember...

• Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.

• Some smoke alarms may be dependent on your home’s electrical service and could be inoperative during a power outage. Check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install a new battery at least once a year.

• If there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of snow, ice and debris for easy access by the fire department.

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