Icy Riverside Drive

Riverside Drive through Edisto Memorial Gardens was closed to traffic Thursday morning. Portions of the road were covered in ice.

LARRY HARDY, T&D

Area motorists had to contend with icy roads Thursday morning and will most likely continue to have to do so at least into Friday morning in the wake of this week's winter storm.

The most significant take away from the storm was the number of vehicle accidents throughout The T&D Region both during the storm, overnight and into Thursday morning.

At one point, the South Carolina Highway Patrol reported over 40 collisions during the height of the storm just in Orangeburg County,.

There were no reports of any fatal accidents, according to the SCHP.

South Carolina Department of Transportation will continue to treat roads, especially bridges and overpasses with a salt and sand solution.

SCDOT District 7 Maintenance Engineer Michelle Lambright used one word to describe the past two days: busy.

"We are trying to keep the roads treated with salt and calcium chloride," she said. "We are working on interstates, primary routes and S.C. routes. That is our focus right now."

Currently, the department is running five sand and salt trucks and could be seeing assistance from other counties that were less impacted by the snowfall.

Lambright said SCDOT will continue to remain on top of the situation.

"We will continue to work and make sure the roadways are safe," she said, noting the department has plenty of deicing materials.

Any snow that melted Thursday will most likely refreeze Thursday night into Friday morning as temperatures are forecast to fall to the upper teens.

If you must travel in areas that received snowfall, do it with a full tank of gas. Drive slow and allow extra time to reach your destination.

Also, keep a flashlight along with some food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

The icy roads have also led to school closures.

Claflin University was closed Thursday, and Denmark Technical College announced it would open at 1 p.m. today.

Due to inclement weather, all Family Health Centers site locations including Orangeburg, Denmark, Holly Hill, Neeses, St. George, St. Matthews, and Vance are also closed today.

Any additional updates will be communicated via the Family Health Centers Inc. website at www.myfhc.org, text message, and social media.

The SCHP offers a number of safety tips for those traveling on icy roads.

* Speed -- Slow down. You will be more likely to maintain control of your vehicle at lower speeds.

* Following distance - Leave plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.

* Abrupt Maneuvers - Avoid excessive actions while steering, braking or accelerating to lessen the chances of losing control of the vehicle.

* Braking - Braking gently will help you avoid skidding.

* Road conditions - Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roadways, which tend to freeze first.

* Cruise Control - Avoid using cruise control in winter driving conditions.

About 23 Orangeburg County state and U.S. roads including U.S. 15, U.S. 21, U.S. 78, U.S. 178 and U.S. 176 were all experiencing icy conditions Thursday morning.

In Calhoun County, the SCDOT was reporting roads with slush and ice including U.S. 601, S.C. 6 and S.C. 33.

In Bamberg County, icy roads included U.S. 21, U.S. 78, U.S. 301, U.S. 321 and U.S. 601.

Secondary roads throughout the entire T&D region were all contending with snow and ice Thursday morning.

Motorists can expect possibly icy conditions on these roads and especially on secondary roads at least through Friday morning and perhaps into the weekend.

Some snowfall totals in the T&D included:

* Cameron 5.8 inches

* Bowman 3 inches

* Orangeburg -- 2 inches. There were no weather stations reporting snow totals in eastern Orangeburg County

* Cope -- 2 inches

* Woodford -- half an inch

* Bamberg -- half an inch

* St. Matthews -- trace or dusting

Calhoun County Emergency Services Director Bill Minikiewicz said the biggest take away from the storm was the number of accidents.

He said five vehicles were involved in an accident on U.S. 601 near Wienges Court and a head-on collision involving two pick up trucks on U.S. 601 on the bridge heading into Richland County. One of the drivers was transported to a Columbia hospital with serious injuries.

There also was another accident in Sandy Run with one lady having to be taken to a Lexington hospital.

Minikiewicz said there were no reports of property damage or significant power outages.

Frigid temperatures will continue to dominate the T&D forecast through Sunday morning. Highs will be in the upper 30s with lows in the upper teens.

Wind-chill values will be 5 to 15 degrees at times during the night.

Early forecasts are calling for a 50 percent chance of rain and snow around the Monday morning commute before changing to all rain later in the morning.

A warmup with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s is forecast for next week.

Contact the writer:

lharter@timesanddemocrat.com

and 803-533-5520.

 

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