Update: Ice wreaks havoc on county

Barnwell County residents woke up Thursday to ice covered landscapes and to the sound of tree limbs cracking and breaking. Winter Storm Pax caused widespread power outages in the wake of the two-day precipitation.

Emergency responders worked to assist residents throughout Wednesday night as conditions worsened and into Thursday.

Crews from SCE&G and Edisto Electric worked through the storm and are continuing to repair downed power lines. Over 5,000 outages were reported in Barnwell County by noon on Thursday by SCE&G.

A representative from Edisto Electric said 14,000 of their more than 19,000 customers are without power. She said crews have been called in from other states to assist and that they plan to have a lot of their customers' power restored Friday. 

Across the state, hundreds of thousands were without power Thursday.

In Barnwell County, firefighters and road crews worked to clear roads made impassable by falling trees.

A Red Cross Shelter has been set up at the Merge, located behind First Baptist Church in Barnwell.

Schools were closed Thursday and will remain closed through Monday, according to officials. Friday the schools are closed due to the weather and Monday is a federal holiday so classes were already set to be closed.

County offices are also closed today and tomorrow, according to the S.C. Emergency Management website.

Gas stations and grocery stores that opened experienced long lines Thursday as customers tried to stock up on bread, water and fuel. Otherwise, most stores remained closed as they were without power.

Motorists seemed to exhibit courtesy and caution at stoplights which were off at several main locations.

Thursday night is expected to be clear with a low of 28, according to the National Weather Service. Friday will have increasing clouds with a high near 56 degrees. 

Residents are cautioned to stay off roads unless necessary and to beware of "black ice" as water may refreeze on roads during the night.

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