LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — When you think of disasters in South Carolina, the first thing that may come to mind are hurricanes or floods.

State emergency management officials say some of the most significant disasters over the last two decades in South Carolina were winter weather related.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) says now is the time to prepare for winter weather.

South Carolina Adjutant General Major General Van McCarty said state agencies are ready. He said, “The number one priority is to ensure the citizens of South Carolina are safe and that we do all we can in preparation for a storm that we can react in an efficient manner.”

Tweet from SCEMD

Forecasters say we are currently in a La Niña pattern. This means the winter season is expected to be warmer and drier than average. National Weather Service Greenville-Spartanburg Warning Coordination Meteorologist Trisha Palmer said winter storms are still possible and if they do occur they are more likely to bring ice than snow.

Palmer said last winter season the state experienced three winter weather events from mid to late January.

“Historically seeing three major winter events in three weeks is incredibly rare. This was one of the most active winter weather periods we had in 10 to 15 years despite the fact it being La Nina winter,” Palmer said.

SCEMD says here are some things you can do now:

  • Adding winter supplies like rock salt to melt ice and shovels to your disaster supply kit.
  • Preparing for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off.
  • Insulating pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Learning how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
  • Having your vehicle serviced to ensure it is prepared for the winter season.
  • Placing a winter emergency kit in every vehicle that includes: a shovel; windshield scraper and small broom; flashlight; battery-powered radio; extra batteries; water; snack food; matches; extra hats, socks and mittens; first aid kit with pocket knife; necessary medications; blankets; tow chain or rope; road salt and sand; booster cables; emergency flares; fluorescent distress flag.

You can download the Severe Winter Weather Guide here.