County prepping for rain, sleet and snow

Published 10:52 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Emergency management is warning residents to be prepared for a mix of rain, sleet and snow starting this afternoon, and will be accompanied by more freezing temperatures.

Chris Newkirk, operations chief of fire/emergency management for Beaufort County, said the county could get up to 4-inches of snow overnight.

“Right now, we are continuing to chase the moving target of a winter weather forecast,” Newkirk said.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the forecast called for the wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow starting at around 4 p.m. across Beaufort County.

“At that point, it gets a little tricky for our county,” Newkirk said.

The eastern part of the county could experience the wintry mix until about 10 p.m. tonight before it turns to snow; the western part of the county, could get snowfall much earlier. All of Beaufort County will likely see snow through the night until 5-6 a.m.

“We’re definitely going to see some accumulation across the county,” Newkirk said. “They’re still trying to nail down the timing of all these elements.”

Beaufort County Schools will be releasing students three hours early in advance of the storm, and all after-school activities have been canceled, according to BCS Superintendent Don Phipps. Phipps said staff is waiting to see what the weather brings before deciding on Thursday’s schedule, but the freezing temperatures may impact Friday, as well.

“We’re being told that whatever falls will be around to the weekend,” Phipps said.

According to the National Weather Service website, the combination of snow and freezing rain will cause very hazardous conditions beginning this afternoon, and peaking tonight into Thursday morning.

“Even if temperatures rise above freezing during the day Wednesday, very cold ground temperatures due to this arctic outbreak will allow any rain to immediately freeze on contact with the ground,” the NWS warning states.

Newkirk said the county is prepared to open shelters if the need arises, but won’t make a decision until the forecast firms up.

“Our biggest concern, really, is power outages,” Newkirk said.

He said residents have until the afternoon to stock up and prep for the winter storm, then conditions will begin to deteriorate. After that, the county is asking people to stay off the roads.

“Don’t put yourself or your family members in jeopardy trying to ride around,” Newkirk said. “And do not — do not — forget about the pets. If you haven’t taken steps to take care of the pets outside, please do that.”

Steps include making sure pets have covered shelter and bedding, as well as access to water, as the temperatures will remain near or below freezing until Monday.