Now is the time to prepare for expected wintry precipitation later this afternoon and into tonight, according to Orangeburg County’s emergency director.

“The public needs to make sure they are prepared for the potential of power outages tonight,” Orangeburg County Emergency Services Director Billy Staley said. “The ice forecast came just a little down from yesterday but it is still a notable amount.”

Staley said residents should “wrap up preparedness plans and get where they need to be when the freezing rain comes in late this afternoon.”

“They should try to limit travel tonight,” he said. “If you don’t have to be out tonight, it would be good to stay home. There is a potential for the roads to be very dangerous tonight.”

Friday closures include Orangeburg, Calhoun government offices, Family Health Centers

Freezing rain is forecast to move into the Orangeburg area after 3 p.m. today with little to no ice accumulation expected, according to the latest forecast from the Columbia National Weather Service.

The chance of freezing rain is 70%.

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Through Friday morning, conditions were dry in what is proverbially called “the calm before the storm.”

Temperatures in Orangeburg started off around 37 Friday morning but did drop to about 35 by 9 a.m.

There were no reports of weather-related issues. No power outages were reported across all utility providers. No vehicle accidents were reported through mid-morning.

It will be cold Friday afternoon with forecast highs around 38. Winds today will be steady around 13 mph, which will keep wind chill values in the 20s all day.

Freezing rain will be likely in Orangeburg through 11 p.m. Friday, with sleet likely between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. Saturday, according to the NWS.

Schools closed amid threat of wintry weather

There is then a chance of freezing rain after 3 a.m. Ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch is possible. New sleet accumulation of less than a half inch is possible in the Orangeburg area.

The chance of wintry precipitation will be around 70% tonight.

Calhoun County is under a winter advisory through 7 a.m. Saturday. The county’s advisory began at 4 a.m. this morning. Total snow accumulations for the county were forecast to be about one inch with isolated higher amounts possible.

Orangeburg and Bamberg counties were also under a winter weather advisory beginning at 1 p.m. Friday. The advisory for both counties was scheduled to expire at 7 a.m. Saturday.

The forecasts called for total snow and sleet accumulations of less than one inch for both Orangeburg and Bamberg counties. Ice accumulations of one to two-tenths of an inch were forecast.

Ice forecast lessens for Orangeburg area, but problems likely

Wind chill values today will be in the middle 20s all day and tonight will fall into the middle teens.

There is also a chance of black ice Saturday morning.

Here are some reminders for when the weather gets bad. $5.99 for the first month
  • Make sure you have a number of items in your vehicle including: a windshield scraper and small broom; a small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels; a brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna; and an emergency supply kit, including warm clothing.
  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Keep a supply of non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
  • Keep handy a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, water-resistant boots, and extra blankets and warm clothing for everyone in your household.
  • If you must go outside, keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent losing body heat.
  • Stay informed on the weather and road conditions.
  • Check emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications and medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
  • Make sure you have at least a three days’ supply of nonperishable items in case power is lost.
  • Ensure your phone maintains charge so it can be used during an emergency.
  • If you lose power, report it to the utility company and have an alternate and safe way to keep warm prepared.
  • Properly vent kerosene heaters to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, and do not burn charcoal indoors as its fumes can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Do not operate portable generators indoors.
  • Keep anything that can burn three feet away from space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves and radiators.
  • Use portable heaters that have been listed by a testing laboratory (look for the laboratory’s label). These heaters should have an automatic shut-off switch so that if they are tipped over, they will turn off on their own.
  • Plug portable electric heaters directly into the wall outlet; don’t use an extension cord or power strip.
  • Freezing temperatures can burst water pipes in homes without heat or proper insulation. Wrap exposed pipes or take other insulating measures.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
  • Bring pets inside; don’t forget to wipe your dog’s paws, as some ice-melting chemicals are not pet-friendly.
  • Move livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

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