Horry’s at OPCON 1 as Columbus declares weather emergency

Freezing rain forecast

By DEUCE NIVEN

    A state of emergency has been declared in Columbus County, and Horry County has move to Operation Condition Level 1 (OPCON 1) as the region gets ready for winter weather over the next two days.
    For Columbus County, the declaration sets the stage for federal compensation to local governments for storm related losses, Deputy Emergency Services Director David Ransom.
    Forecasts for the area call for sleet and ice during most of Tuesday night, into Wednesday morning, eventually turning to mostly snow. Travel conditions are expected to be treacherous over must of the area. Some power outages are possible.
    A disaster declaration is required for federal assistance to local governments from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Ransom said.
    OPCON 1, in Horry County, means that an emergency situation is in effect, a county news release said.
    Public schools in Columbus and Horry counties will be closed on Wednesday, and decisions are expected then on school openings on Thursday.
    Columbus County offices and courts will be closed on Wednesday. In Horry County, county offices are expected to open at noon.
    All courts in Columbus and Horry Counties will be closed on Wednesday.
 
Precautions
         Horry County Emergency Management offers these storm preparation tips:
·         Citizens unaccustomed to dealing with life-threatening aspects of severe cold should remember to keep exposure to cold weather to a minimum. Frostbite is harmful and painful. Hypothermia, or low body temperature, can be lethal, and it is particularly hard on infants and the elderly. When the weather turns cold, don’t go outdoors unless you have to. If you must go out, dress in layers and cover your ears, head and hands. Remember, high wind speeds dramatically increase the effects of cold temperatures by increasing the “wind chill factor.”
·         Stock up on heating fuel and prepare emergency heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters. (WARNING: Never burn charcoal briquettes indoors.)
·         Remember the usual emergency supplies: a flashlight and batteries, a battery-powered radio, extra non-perishable food and water, extra medicines and baby items, and first-aid supplies.
·         Freezing temperatures can burst water pipes in homes that lack heat or proper insulation. Wrap exposed pipes or take other measure to insulate them from the cold.
·         Prepare a place indoors for pets. Move farm animals to shelters and have extra feed and water available.
·         Be aware of possible carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire if using alternative sources for electricity, heating or cooking.
·         Residents are encouraged to check on elderly and at-risk neighbors and relatives due to the increased potential for power outages and cold temperatures.
·         Use caution when traveling on roads.
    For more information on winter weather safety tips for your family and pets, please log onto the American Red Cross website here.

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