Winter weather heads to Barnwell County

First Byline: 
Susan C. Delk - Managing Editor

Barnwell County's Emergency Management Director Roger Riley has been a busy man Monday. He is helping to coordinate and prepare Barnwell County's response to the winter weather that is approaching.
It's hard to believe, looking out at the beautiful, sunny, nearly 70 degree day, that by this time tomorrow, the sleet may have started to accumulate appreciably.
Riley said his latest conversations with the National Weather Service, who has now issued a Winter Storm Warning for much of the state, expects the sleet to begin by 2 p.m. tomorrow.
The NWS is predicting the sleet accumulation will top out near three-quarters of an inch.
"As the temperatures begin to drop, the sleet will make the change over to snow," Riley said.
Snow accumulations are expected to be near 4 inches in Barnwell County, he said.
With winter weather on the horizon, Barnwell County schools have already made the decision to close early tomorrow. County schools will be closed Tuesday.
As for other planned closures, Riley said Barnwell County offices and state offices within the county will remain open until the sleet begins.
Currently, he said he is not planning to open any shelters but if the winter storm causes power outages, shelters will be opened within the county. Barnwell First Baptist Church and Seven Pines Baptist Church in Snelling have agreed to open as shelters if needed, he said.
"We're as prepared as we can be," Riley said.
Riley advised everyone to complete their preparations today and tonight, prior to the storm arriving.
"If there is sleet first, (the roads) are not going to be safe," Riley said.
S.C. Department of Transportation will begin salting major roads as the precipitation begins to try and keep the roadways clear as long as possible, he said.
To stay up to date on the actual temperatures here in Barnwell County, Riley said a newly installed weather station provides information 24 hours a day.
Through a partnership with Barnwell School District, Riley said his office used a grant to purchase a weather station and the school installed the weather station. It provides up to the minute, live readings for temperature, wind among others from right here in Barnwell, he said.
The weather station can be accessed by going to www.weatherlink.com/user/BSD45 or by logging onto The People-Sentinel's website, www.thepeoplesentinel.com and searching for the link section on the far right.
There is also an available app for smartphone users, search for David Instruments.
As the winter weather arrives and travel may be limited, please share any photos on our Facebook page. If you experience power outages and have the ability to update Facebook, please drop us a note on our page. We will work to keep readers updated as conditions permit