Gov. Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency in South Carolina around noon Tuesday because of forecasted winter weather, and the state Emergency Management Division opened the state’s Emergency Operations Center outside Columbia.
"Any agency that has a role in disaster response is represented in the room,” says Derrec Becker, public information coordinator for the Emergency Management Division.
The state agencies stay in touch with county emergency management directors. "Any request that they may have or any unfulfilled needs, whether it be helping them open up a shelter or extra salt on the roads, any type of request that a county may have. That's why this room exists, to support the local county emergency responder," Becker says.
The EOC will remain open around the clock for the duration of the storm and its aftermath.
One of the agencies staffing the EOC is the Highway Patrol. LCpl. David Jones says the patrol is urging people to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. He says there are more wrecks because of the weather, but there are also a lot more vehicles that break down in the cold.
"Several weeks ago, we had a deep freeze come through the Midlands,” he says. “On an average day we cover about 60 stranded motorists. During that 24-hour period, we covered upwards of 260."
Gov. Haley also ordered all state government offices to follow county government closing decisions.
The SCEMD is urging everyone to take proper safety measure to handle frozen precipitation, hazardous road conditions and extremely cold temperatures. Emergency management officials released the following resources to help you out during the winter weather: