A disruptive, potentially crippling winter storm is forecast to affect a broad swath of central South Carolina over the next 36 hours. With predictions of ice accumulations in excess of a half-inch, the state's electric cooperatives are preparing for the potential of widespread power outages.
"This is the kind of scenario you never want to see," said Todd Carter, vice president of loss control and training at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. "Ice storms of this magnitude can cause extensive damage to our system. Unfortunately, it looks like a large number of homes are probably going to lose power in the coming days."
In advance of the storm, 22 line workers from Kentucky arrived in the state today to assist with power restoration efforts. Storm coordinators, as part of a mutual aid agreement among co-ops, will participate in a conference call Wednesday morning and determine whether additional reinforcements are needed.
"If this storm produces an inch of ice, we're going to need as much help as we can get," said Carter. "Right now, we have almost 300 linemen on stand-by to help. We'll draw crews from Mississippi, Florida, as well as more linemen from Kentucky. We'll decide Wednesday morning whether we have to call them in."
Wednesday's weather forecast for the Midlands predicts more than 12 straight hours of freezing rain combined with strong gusty winds. Carter says the public needs to be prepared to be without power for an extended period.
"We're hoping the forecast is wrong," says Carter. "But folks should be ready. There's potential for widespread damage. If the predictions hold up, we'll be facing a monumental job in the upcoming days."
Ice Storm Facts
Safety reminders for the public
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