COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster on Friday declared a State of Emergency as South Carolina prepares for winter weather over the long weekend.

While more mild conditions are expected in the Lowcountry, parts of the Midlands and Upstate could see snow, sleet, and ice beginning Sunday morning.

McMaster said that “there is a potential for very dangerous conditions caused by accumulations of ice and snow, which will likely result in power outages across the state.”

Enacting a State of Emergency allows state agencies like the Emergency Management Division to better prepare for the upcoming storm.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has already begin pretreating roads and highways, and has “prepositioned equipment and personnel in key areas throughout the state.”

McMaster is asking everyone to take precautions and be weather aware this weekend by doing the following:

  • 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 www.scemd.org

A press conference on how the state is preparing and what residents can do to remain safe is scheduled for Saturday at 3:30 P.M.