Snow began to fall in the Upstate and northeast Georgia early Wednesday, and the most powerful half of South Carolina’s winter storm is expected pound the Upstate throughout the night.
The storm could cause one of the heaviest snowfalls on record for the region.
Snow has spread across northeast Georgia and the western and southern parts of the Upstate, falling steadily from Clemson to Laurens and points west, according to a National Weather Service statement.
On Tuesday, meteorologists announced that residents in the region will get 8 to 11 inches of snow Tuesday alone. By the time the winter storm is over Thursday morning, some residents could have more than a foot of snow.
The same amount of water that yields just one inch of sleet will create four inches of snow. Meteorologists are also predicting little ice for the area, except in Abbeville and Greenwood counties which much ice has already accumulated.
Fewer power outages occur when two-tenths of an inch of ice falls than when you get a quarter-inch of ice, and there’s a better chance people can stay safe and warm. The longer the temperature says above freezing, the fewer problems we’ll have. The biggest concern is power outages. Temperatures have not risen at all today. They remain around 27 degrees.
The National Weather Service forecasts that snowfall will increase across the region through Wednesday morning and then intensify through the afternoon and evening hours. Sleet may mix in with the snow at times through tonight.
Duke Energy moved crews from the Midwest and Florida into the Carolinas in anticipation of the winter storm. Duke customers who experience outages should call 1-800-POWERON. Anyone who sees a fallen Duke power line or safety hazard involving the company’s equipment should call that number and select Option 2 or contact local emergency services immediately.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation reported that priority routes and bridges continued to be treated as needed with anti-icing materials and equipment in Anderson, Oconee, Pickens and Abbeville counties.
Anderson city police had 20 patrol cars outfitted with studded tires to keep each shift of officers safe on the roads. Each of those cars gets two studded tires, which are only used a few times a year. Each tire costs about $150.
Gov. Nikki Haley has, for the second time in three weeks, declared a state of emergency in South Carolina. The National Guard is on active duty to support state agencies. The guard has wrecker teams and four-wheel drive vehicles that can be used in the storm response.
The emergency declaration also puts into effect laws against price gouging and allows the governor to take whatever other steps are needed to protect residents.