Winter storm shuts down South Strand for three days

  • Friday, January 31, 2014

This beautiful shot provided by Kyle Rigby of Kingstree.

Photos

Before the freezing rain and the sleet began to fall, the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, N.C., said “this to be a historic event unfolding.”

Since there was much less freezing rain than predicted - which would have likely resulted in widespread power outages - the storm was not as bad as that prediction.

But it was bad enough to shut down schools for three full days and government offices and most businesses in the area for two full days. Schools are operating on a two-hour delay today.

District spokesman Ray White said Thursday no decision has been made about make up days but there are three make up days in the calendar. They are Feb. 18, June 5 and June 6.

Georgetown County School District Superintendent Dr. Randy Dozier made the decision to close schools Tuesday based on advice from the state and forecasts from the National Weather Service and other meteorologists who predicted the precipitation would begin before the end of the school day.

The sleet and freezing rain began by 6 p.m. Tuesday and continued until late morning Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service, the City of Georgetown received about three-tenths-of an-inch of mainly sleet, although there was a layer of freezing rain underneath.

The Pleasant Hill and Murrells Inlet areas received about half-inch.

The biggest problem caused by the storm was the ice covered roads. Although the bridges in the county remained open, there were accidents.

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

There were numerous other accidents, especially in rural areas where the roads were not treated. Several cars slid into ditches. There was an overturned vehicle on Hestervile Road on Thursday morning.

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.

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

Gov. Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency in the state as the storm approached.

Haley’s proclamation said the storm “was expected to require assistance for stranded motorists, isolated citizens, medical emergencies, downed trees, road debris and power outages” beyond the ability of local governments to cope.

Most of the predictions did not materialize.

The declaration did result in the Georgetown County Emergency Operations Center operating under OPCON 3 for a day. OPCON 3 is 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.

The good news is things are expected to warm up today with a high in the mid 50s, and the area could see temperatures in the 70s on Sunday.

See photos on pages 1B, 2B and 3B.

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