Winter storm warning remains as freezing weather shuts bridges down

Published: Jan. 27, 2014 at 1:05 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 29, 2014 at 4:39 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - As freezing rain and sleet fell on roadways in the Lowcountry Tuesday, authorities shut down a number of bridges.

Local authorities have shut down the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, the Ben Sawyer Bridge and the Don Holt Bridge.

The closures come after a night of freezing rain fell across much of southeast South Carolina Tuesday night.

Residents throughout the Lowcountry reported that ice has covered roadways, trees and cars. The NWS says temperatures should continue to fall with significant icing expected as freezing rain increases.

The winter storm warning remains in effect for all counties in the Lowcountry until 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Overnight freezing rain and sleet will turn to snow between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. inland on Wednesday, and between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. on the coast.

Ice accumulation of one quarter to one half inch of ice is expected, with some and sleet accumulation of 1 to 2 inches.

Temperatures will drop to the lower 30's by early this evening then into the 20's overnight.

A heavy and dangerous wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow could make for treacherous travel and possible widespread power outages Tuesday afternoon and most of Wednesday. All of southeast South Carolina will be dealing with some sort of wintry weather beginning Tuesday afternoon. Temperatures Tuesday will fall to freezing or below by the afternoon with a breezy Northeast wind at 15 mph.

Charleston County Government officials say they will be moving to Operating Condition 3 at 4 p.m. today. OPCON 3 means a disaster or emergency situation is likely or imminent.

The National Weather Service warnings are in effect for portions of southeast South Carolina including the Charleston metro areas.

Expect hazardous roadway conditions Tuesday night, with ice accumulation at 1/4" to 3/4 of an inch with little to no snow accumulation around the Charleston metro and 1-2 inches of snow west of Charleston. If those ice accumulations occur, power outages are likely.

The winter storm will peak Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning. All precipitation should be done by lunch on Wednesday. Total snow and sleet accumulations of 2-4 inches are possible especially away from the coast. 

There are still some uncertainties with the exact track of the storm and how much cold air is in place. There is the potential for an accumulating snowfall and significant icing. Some areas, especially those west of Charleston, could see snow and sleet accumulations over 2 inches. 

According to Live 5 Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh, here is what you can expect:

Inland Counties:

  • Tuesday afternoon: Sleet and freezing rain
  • Tuesday evening: Freezing rain/Snow mix
  • Tuesday night: Changing to snow
  • Wednesday morning: Snow ending

Coastal Counties:

  • Tuesday afternoon: Rain to sleet and freezing rain
  • Tuesday evening: Sleet/Freezing rain
  • Tuesday night: Freezing rain/Snow mix
  • Wednesday morning: Snow ending

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