Power back on for most in the Lowcountry

Crews taking a photo out of the roadway.
Crews taking a photo out of the roadway.
Source: Jack McKinley
Source: Jack McKinley
Snow covering street signs.
Snow covering street signs.
Source: Jennifer Shelden-Jubik
Source: Jennifer Shelden-Jubik

UPDATE 7:00 a.m. Monday - Almost all SCE&G and Berkeley Electric customers have power again.

SCE&G reported about 18 customers in the Charleston and Mt. Pleasant areas, along with 39 people in the Summerville and Walterboro areas are still without electricity. That number remained fairly constant for most of Monday morning.

Berkeley Electric said that only about 20 members remained without power as of 6 a.m. Monday. The company said most of those outages were in the Ravenel and Moncks Corner areas. That number dropped from about 175 members without power as of 10 p.m. Sunday.

To report an outage for SCE&G, call 1-888-333-4465 or click here. For BEC customers reporting an outage, call 1-888-253-4232.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m. Sunday - Both SCE&G and Berkeley Electric say most of their customers have had their power restored.

SCE&G reports close to 200 customers are without power Sunday evening.  That's down from several hundred Sunday morning.

Berkeley Electric says only 175 customers are without power.  The company said 12,000 customers were still without power as of 8 a.m. Sunday.

To report an outage for SCE&G, call 1-888-333-4465 or click here. For BEC customers reporting an outage, call 1-888-253-4232.

UPDATE 1:30 a.m. Sunday - The only power company that has an update is SCE&G and they are reporting less than 25 customers without power in the Charleston metro area. Most of those outages are focused on Johns and James islands.

The problem area for SCE&G seems to be Dorchester County around Summerville, Walterboro and Holly Hill. There are still 3,600 customers without power there.

The NWS-issued winter weather advisory for black ice remains in effect until 9 a.m. Sunday.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m. Saturday - The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for black ice for most of South Carolina that will last until 9 a.m. Sunday. Temperatures will drop to around freezing after 9 p.m., then continue dropping into the middle and upper 20s overnight. Some secondary and less-traveled roads along with some elevated structures such as bridges and overpasses may still contain standing water or slush from melting snow. This standing water will freeze over late Saturday night, creating areas of black ice.

Power outages remain a problem, but crews with power companies across the Lowcountry are working around the clock to repair damaged lines. For SCE&G, Charleston area outages are just over 200 customers and Berkeley County outages are over 4,400 customers. Berkeley Electric Co-op has not updated since 6 p.m. In that update, they said there were 11,500 customers without power.

To report an outage for SCE&G, call 1-888-333-4465 or click here. For BEC customers reporting an outage, call 1-888-253-4232.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m. Saturday - The NWS has issued official snowfall totals for the state and the numbers are a little surprising. Berkeley County saw the most snow in the tri-county. Parts of Summerville and St. Stephen had over 8 inches of snow.

[Check out the full snowfall totals list from the NWS.]

UPDATE 4 p.m. Saturday -The SCDOT said most interstates appear to be clear, dry and passable after a sunny day across the state melted the snow. However, the possibility of black ice is still high on secondary roads. DOT crews are working to manage these trouble spots before nightfall when temperatures drop back below freezing. Reserves of salt have been shipped to the upstate.

The DOT has used 1,300 people in 679 vehicles to deliver 9,400 tons of salt, 2,100 tons of sand and 416,000 gallons of salt brine to the state's roadways.

The good news for many residents across the state is the power is coming back on. SCE&G has 2,700 customers without power in the Charleston metro area, and another 10,000 customers without power across Walterboro, Summerville and into Orangeburg.

Berkeley Electric Co-op reports there are still 15,000 customers without power across their tri-county system. Coastal Electric and Edisto Electric co-ops and Santee-Cooper Electric have not sent a revised outage statement for Saturday afternoon.

The winter storm warning issued by the NWS expired early Saturday morning, but that has since been replaced by a flood warning extending across most coastal regions in South Carolina.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m. Saturday - Gov. Mark Sanford issued a statement Saturday morning addressing the road conditions and power outages across the state:

"Given last night's snowfall and the difficult weather experienced by many across South Carolina, resources from state and local governments have been mobilized for the last 18 hours in an effort to make our state's roads as safe as possible as quickly as possible, and work is already underway to restore power to the up to 35,000 households who experienced outages last night," said Gov. Mark Sanford. "We'd thank the over 1,600 first responders across the state for working through the night to serve, protect and in many cases directly assist their fellow South Carolinians stuck on the roadways."

"Last night the Emergency Management Division, in coordination with numerous law enforcement agencies, Department of Transportation (DOT) crews and other local and private entities, began its around-the-clock work to clear major thoroughfares and return power to areas experiencing outages - with extra focus on hard hit areas like Orangeburg County, Charleston County and the I-26 corridor from Charleston to Columbia. Specifically, 220 Highway Patrol, DNR and SLED units patrolled and assisted motorists last night, while over 1,400 DOT personnel and 737 DOT vehicles and plows continue to unclog our state's interstates, highways and other roads. For the sake of these first responders, we'd ask for an added measure of patience as we dig out together from what has been quite the South Carolina snowfall. Finally, and most importantly, we'd continue to urge South Carolinians - especially those not accustomed to this amount of snow - to stay put and not venture out on the roads today until conditions improve. For the latest updates and tips on weathering the storm, South Carolinians can log onto www.scemd.org."

UPDATE 10:30 a.m. Saturday - The storm that dropped several inches of snow across at least six states has moved off the coast, leaving behind cold, dry air. Highs will only reach the low 40s across most of the Lowcountry Saturday, but Sunday will get up into the 50s.

While the sun is out and the snow is melting, the SC DOT says roadways are still treacherous and does not recommend driving, if possible. Crews are working to clear roadways. So far, the DOT has deployed more than 1,400 people and 737 machines to deploy the 8,000 tons of salt, 1,600 tons of sand and 582,000 gallons of salt brine.

Jasper, Colleton, and Berkeley counties report significant amounts of downed trees. In the immediate Charleston area, bridges remain open but there are reports of them being slick with an accumulation of slush and ice.

Power outages continue to be a problem through much of the state, but crews have restored power since 4 a.m. to thousands of customers. In the Charleston area, nearly 9,000 SCE&G customers remain without power. Another 13,000 are without power in the Summerville/Walterboro/Orangeburg area. Coastal and Edisto Electric Co-ops report nearly 11,000 customers without power between their systems. Berkeley Electric Co-op reports 25,000 customers are without power across the tri-county area; that number is down from 32,000 several hours earlier.

UPDATE 4 a.m. Saturday - The trailing band of the snow storm has made its way off the coast. The chance of precipitation falls off to 10 percent for most of the Lowcountry as we move into the day Saturday. People on the roads early can expect icy conditions, especially on bridges.

Crews with SCE&G, Berkeley Electric Co-op and Santee-Cooper have been working through the night to restore power to the thousands without, but they still have a lot of work left to do. To make matter worse, there are reports of trees being downed by ice and snow coming in, as well.

At this hour, there are 15,000 SCE&G customers without power in the Charleston area and another 18,000 without power between Summerville, Walterboro and Orangeburg.

UPDATE 1 a.m. Saturday - The snow continued to accumulate, but at much slower pace than late Friday evening, with 1 to 3 inches total in overnight snow possible. The area remained cloudy with a low around 29 and there was a north wine between 15 and 17 mph. There were 17,500 residents in the Charleston metro area and almost 15,000 between Summerville and Orangeburg without power, according to SCE&G. At last report from Berkeley Electric Co-Op, there were 15,000 without power.

UPDATE 10:48 p.m. Friday - Transformers have blown across the Lowcountry. SCE&G alone is reporting 15,500 customers without power.

UPDATE 9 p.m. Friday - Snowfall is accumulating across the Lowcountry. Areas in Walterboro could see as much as six inches by the end of the night, while coastal areas will likely see two inches.

Power outages are starting to be reported in Walterboro and Goose Creek. Power company crews are working to restore power.

[Check out power outages across the state.]

Emergency crews are reporting icy conditions starting to appear on bridges and the Ravenel Bridge linking Mt. Pleasant and downtown may become impassable later Friday night. Scanner traffic says the Don Holt Bridge is shutting down. The Limehouse Bridge has also become impassable.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m. Friday - Reports of snow are starting to come in from across the state, mostly from Orangeburg, Ridgeville and areas north of there. In the Lowcountry, the snow is expected to start sometime after 8 p.m. Right now, no bridges have been closed in the tri-county area.

UPDATE 1 p.m. Friday - The forecast model continues to develop and it looks like the immediate coast could see 1-to-2 inches. Most inland areas will see between two and four inches and there is a pocket around Orangeburg, Walterboro and up I-95 that may see as much as six inches of snow.

Inland areas will likely see the bulk of the snow event between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Current models show the storm may build and circulate just off the coast before speeding out into the Atlantic Ocean. If that happen, more snow could fall on coastal areas, depending on how long the storm cell sits by the coast.

UDATE 11:30 a.m. Friday - Current models are holding and the storm continues to move across the Deep South. The NWS have not adjusted accumulation totals beyond the predicted 1-to-3 inches along the coast and up to four inches inland.

UPDATE 9 a.m. Friday - The NWS has upgrading the Winter Storm Watch to a Warning for sections of eastern Texas, all of Louisiana, Alabama, southern Georgia, most of South Carolina and coastal North Carolina.

Inland areas might see an inch of snow late Friday afternoon and up to four inches Friday night and into early Saturday morning. Coastal areas could see up to two inches of snow and winds are expected to reach 25 miles per hour.

UPDATE 7 a.m. Friday - According to the NWS, the majority of South Carolina, including all coastal counties, is under a winter storm warning from noon Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday. The NWS expects rain, possibly mixed with snow and sleet, to start Friday afternoon. As colder air comes in, the rain is expected to turn entirely to snow in the late afternoon or evening time and then taper off by about midnight.

The Lowcountry could see anywhere from one to six inches of snow. The superintendents of both Charleston and Colleton County schools said they want parents to be prepared for the possibility of early dismissal, but all schools will start on time. Dorchester Academy in St. George will be closing at 1pm today.

UPDATE 1 a.m. Friday - According to the NWS, rain is expected to last through 4 p.m. then switch to snow. The most recent forecast model shows the chance of precipitation staying above 80 percent for the day Friday. Friday night lows will be in the upper 20s, with one to three inches of accumulation possible across the Lowcountry. The Midlands can expect one to two inches of snow.

UPDATE 10 p.m. Thursday - Dr. McGinley, superintendent of Charleston County schools, said the district had not made the decision to close schools, but she wanted parents to be ready in case students were dismissed early Friday.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - While a rare winter storm develops in the Southeast, meteorologists are putting together models to determine what kind and how much precipitation will fall on across the South. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch that is in effect until Saturday.

The winter storm is moving through the northern Gulf of Mexico and is expected to hit the Florida coast by late Friday afternoon.

The storm's power could be intensified by cold air that is currently in place in the region. The mix of the storm from with the cold air creates an ideal mix for light rain that could change to snow during the late afternoon Friday.

Currently, meteorologists from across the region are watching several models and agree that the GFS model appears to be trending most accurately at this point. The model calls for some accumulation of snow across Georgia, South Carolina and into coastal North Carolina by Friday night.

Based on the current forecast model, forecasters expect to see light rain across the Lowcountry and midlands by 1 p.m., which will give way to a mix of frozen precipitation and rain. The frozen precipitation could take the form of sleet, freezing rain or snow. By 5 p.m., forecasters expect that mix will turn over to snow.

[Keep an eye on storm movement with the Interactive Radar.]

There are, under the current model, expected periods of heavy snow across the region Friday night, but those periods are expected to be short-lived.

As far as accumulation, meteorologists expect up to an inch along the coast and 4 inches inland. That does, however, depend on the speed of the storm. The faster it moves, the less precipitation will accumulate.

Meteorologists are watching the storm 24 hours a day to provide up-to-date prediction models.

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