By DEUCE NIVEN
Ice gets the blame for power outages that left thousands in the dark in Columbus and Brunswick counties Wednesday night, and prevented us from updating this website with weather conditions beginning earlier in the afternoon.
It also gets the blame for closing schools in Columbus and Horry counties again Thursday. Southeastern Community College will also be closed, while Coastal Carolina University will be on its normal schedule, and Horry Georgetown Technical College will open at 9:30 a.m.
Columbus County and most municipal offices in the county will be closed Thursday, while in Horry County offices closed at 2 p.m. Wednesday, with no decision during the evening on when normal operations would resume. The county moved to OPCON 3 on Wednesday, a high level of operational readiness.
Trees by the hundreds fell in both Columbus and Horry on Wednesday, with ice coating limbs causing many to snap with cracks that sounded like gunfire.
Many of those limbs and trees took power lines with them, plunging thousands of people in the dark. Duke Energy Progress was telling some Columbus County customers Wednesday that power would not be restored before 6 p.m. Friday.
By 9:30 p.m. Wednesday BEMC was reporting 8,550 outages in Columbus County, Duke showing 2,518.
In sections of Horry County, especially near the state line, the situation was much the same with Horry Electric Cooperative and Santee Cooper reporting thousands of outages, with expected restoration to some customers at least a day away.
Better weather is on the way, the National Weather Service said Wednesday, but the mess will take time to clear. Warming temperatures overnight will allow more ice to fall, likely causing more problems. Friday promises to be the best day, with temperatures well into the 50s.
Look for updates here, as warranted, and see the Feb. 19 Tabor-Loris Tribune print and on-line editions for a complete wrap-up of this week’s winter storm.