CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The storm system delivering a winter punch to several southern states is not expected to bring snow or ice to the Lowcountry.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division and other state and local agencies are monitoring a storm system that could affect much of the state beginning Monday afternoon.
The storm is expected to produce freezing rain and sleet with some ice accumulation in the Upstate and northern Midlands, according to forecasters with the National Weather Service offices.
The Lowcountry, however, will be spared the wintry weather, in favor of a fair share of rain and thunderstorms overnight Monday into early Tuesday morning, according to Meteorologist Justin Lock.
"We will be on the south side, or warmer side, of the storm where temperatures will actually rise to near 60 degrees overnight," Lock said. "That warmer air could lead to a few thunderstorms by early Tuesday."
Lock says the best chance for rain will occur after midnight and before noon on Tuesday. Rainfall totals will average around a half-inch. Along with the rain comes overnight winds of 20 to 30 mph. Gusts of up to 35 mph are possible, Lock said.
Another shot of arctic air is set to move into the Lowcountry by Wednesday, Lock said.
Winter Storm Warnings have been issued for six counties including Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and York.
People who live in those counties should prepare for the possibility of below-freezing temperatures, power outages and dangerous driving conditions, particularly on bridges and overpasses, according to Derrec Becker, spokesman for the SCEMD.
While forecasters say this storm will primarily affect northern counties, winter weather systems can change quickly, Becker says.
If you experience winter weather where you live or plan to travel into an area where winter weather is possible, the SCEMD urges you to practice the following winter safety tips from the official SC Severe Winter Weather Guide:
- 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 and keep any electric generators OUTSIDE and away from any open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not burn charcoal indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from charcoal fumes indoors.
- Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and NOAA tone-alert weather radios.
- Remember to keep a full charge on your cell phone and mobile devices so that they can be used during an emergency.
- Know how to report power outages to your electric utility.
- Do not call 911 to report a power outage, call 911 only for life-threatening emergencies.
- Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home.
- Avoid driving during winter storm conditions and limit your exposure outdoors.
- Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing to stay warm. You will be warmer and, as the temperature changes, you can easily remove layers to remain comfortable.
- If you must travel during a winter storm, store an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes: blankets, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, battery booster cables and flares, a tire repair kit and pump, a road map, a sack of cat litter (for tire traction), a tow rope, bottled water and non-perishable high-energy foods such as granola bars, extra clothing to keep dry, and a windshield scraper and brush.
- If driving on snow- or ice-covered roadways, reduce your speed. Driving at the regular speed limit will reduce your ability to control the car if you begin to slide. Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.
- If conditions worsen and you can no longer drive safely, pull off the highway. Stay calm and remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.
- Call *HP if you are in an accident or need immediate roadside assistance.
For more information about winter weather, visit the SCEMD's Severe Winter Weather Guide: http://bit.ly/1AEQWna