LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) — The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) says South Carolinians in the Upstate and Midlands should prepare for possible winter weather this weekend.

According to officials, people should monitor local weather conditions and continue winter safety precautions. They said forecasters with the National Weather Service predict the possibility of a wintry mix of snow, sleet ice and rain beginning Saturday evening and into Sunday morning. Forecasters expect below freezing temperatures to last through the start of next week, particularly at night.

In a release, SCEMD says motorists need to prepare for winter weather driving before a winter storm hits, especially those living in the Upstate or areas of our state that see more severe winter weather conditions.  The South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) urges motorists to check the weather forecast frequently and stay informed before and while traveling because conditions can deteriorate rapidly.

Officials said troopers will be monitoring the roadways for hazardous road conditions during weather events and working with partners to respond as quickly as possible.

SCEMD said South Carolinians should remember the following winter safety precautions:

  • During winter storm weather, it is best to stay off the roads for unnecessary travel. If you must travel, ensure your vehicle is in good condition. Check the fluids, battery, and tires. Ensure that your phone is charged and you have extra blankets and snacks in case of delays.  Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only.
  • Remember to keep a full charge on your cell phone and mobile devices so they can be used during an emergency.
  • If you lose power, know how to report the outage to your utility company and have alternate, safe means of staying warm. 
  • Monitor local media for information about warming shelters opened by local organizations.
  • Freezing temperatures can burst water pipes in homes without heat or proper insulation. Wrap exposed pipes or take other measures to insulate them from the cold.
  • Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them. 
  • Properly vent kerosene heaters to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not burn charcoal indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from charcoal fumes indoors. 
  • Never operate a portable generator indoors. 
  • Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and NOAA tone-alert weather radios. 
  • Provide some options for outdoor pets and domestic animals to stay warm and to have access to food and water.
  • Check on anyone who may need extra help during winter weather.
  • The official South Carolina Severe Winter Weather Guide contains checklists and tips on how to prepare for a winter storm. The guide is available for download at scemd.org.

Officials said SCEMD Director Kim Stenson is coordinating with all county emergency managers to make sure there are no unmet needs in terms of winter storm response resources.