Gov. McMaster declares State of Emergency ahead of winter storm - Live 5 News WCSC

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster has declared a State of Emergency in preparation for this weekend's expected winter storm, and urges South Carolinians to monitor local weather conditions and take winter safety precautions.

The governor's office say McMaster will also hold a press conference at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division Operation Center to provide updates on the winter storm, tomorrow, Saturday, January 15 at 3:30 p.m.

Upstate and Midlands

According to the latest forecast, the Upstate and the Midlands are seeing the possibility of a wintry mix of snow, sleet ice and rain beginning Saturday evening and into Sunday morning, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said.

They expect below-freezing temperatures to last through the start of next week, particularly at night.


Most of the Lowcountry, Live 5 Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh said, will see a lot of rain, but said there is a small chance that light freezing rain could fall at the onset of the storm on Sunday in areas west of I-95 or north of Lake Moultrie, which would include Orangeburg and Williamsburg Counties and even upper Berkeley and Dorchester Counties.

Based on the current track of the system, Walsh said that even if light freezing rain falls, it would quickly change to rain with no accumulation expected.

Sunday is expected to be very wet with temperatures starting out near 40 degrees and warming into the 50s by late morning or early afternoon.

McMaster and governor's office advises caution during storm

"South Carolina will be impacted by a major winter storm this weekend, likely beginning Sunday morning," said McMaster said on Friday afternoon. "There is a potential for very dangerous conditions caused by accumulations of ice and snow, which will likely result in power outages across the state. I urge South Carolinians to monitor their local weather forecasts and begin taking safety precautions. We will hold a media briefing tomorrow afternoon to update residents with the latest information on this winter storm." The National Weather Service forecast predicts significant snow, sleet, and ice starting early Sunday morning, impacting much of the Upstate and Midlands. "The Governor's Executive Order puts our plans into motion and let's state agencies best coordinate any resources that may be needed in the days ahead," said SCEMD Director Kim Stenson. "We have experienced ice storms before, and we're as prepared as we can be to respond to any requests for aid from our local emergency managers. It is vital for people to meet us halfway in this effort by being personally prepared for this winter storm."

The governor's office released the following additional information.

Motorists need to prepare for winter weather driving before a winter storm hits, especially those living in the Upstate or areas of our state that see more severe winter weather conditions. The South Carolina Highway Patrol urges motorists to check the weather forecast frequently and stay informed before and while traveling because conditions can deteriorate rapidly. Troopers will be monitoring the roadways for hazardous road conditions during weather events and working with our partners to respond as quickly as possible.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) started pretreating roads and highways Thursday and has prepositioned equipment and personnel in key areas throughout the state.

Residents should remember the following winter safety precautions:

  • During winter storm weather, it is best to stay off the roads for unnecessary travel. If you must travel, ensure your vehicle is in good condition. Check the fluids, battery, and tires. Ensure that your phone is charged and you have extra blankets and snacks in case of delays. Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only.
  • Remember to keep a full charge on your cell phone and mobile devices so they can be used during an emergency.
  • If you lose power, know how to report the outage to your utility company and have alternate, safe means of staying warm.
  • Monitor local media for information about warming shelters opened by local organizations.
  • Freezing temperatures can burst water pipes in homes without heat or proper insulation. Wrap exposed pipes or take other measures to insulate them from the cold.
  • Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
  • Properly vent kerosene heaters to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not burn charcoal indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from charcoal fumes indoors.
  • Never operate a portable generator indoors.
  • Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and NOAA tone-alert weather radios.
  • Provide some options for outdoor pets and domestic animals to stay warm and to have access to food and water.
  • Check on anyone who may need extra help during winter weather.
  • The official South Carolina Severe Winter Weather Guide contains checklists and tips on how to prepare for a winter storm. The guide is available for download at
  • The governor will be joined by the S.C. Emergency Management Division and other state agency officials for a press conference to update South Carolinians on the winter storm following a SCEMD executive call, tomorrow, Saturday, January 15 at approximately 3:30 PM.

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