UNION COUNTY — Schools were dismissed early today, two towns canceled meetings, and local officials were preparing for a winter weather system expected to bring as much as four inches of snow to the county.
Danny Gant, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Greer, said this morning that Union County is under a Winter Storm Warning because weather patterns were increasingly favorable to produce snow that would continue falling until early Wednesday morning.
“The surface low is trending north and associated with that is a moisture plume,” Gant said. “The cold is already in place and all that is needed now is moisture and it will arrive this afternoon.”
Gant said that when that moisture arrived it would begin to produce snow that would fall heaviest in the lower parts of the county.
“The south and southeast portions of the county can expect approximately four inches,” Gant said. “Further north it will be approximately three inches.”
Gant said the snow would continue into the evening and begin tapering off after midnight or by Wednesday morning at the very latest as the storm system begins moving out of the area.
The snow will be accompanied by freezing temperatures that Gant said would reach a high of no more than approximately 30 degrees today and fall to a low of 18 or 19 degrees tonight. While the snow was expected to cease by Wednesday morning at the latest, Gant said the cold temperatures will continue to remain at or below freezing throughout the day. He said Wednesday night will be even colder than tonight with lows around 14 degrees.
Gant said that Wednesday night’s lows will be followed by a gradual warming trend through the rest of the week.
In response to the forecast of up to four inches of snow and below freezing temperatures, local officials met throughout the day to prepare and coordinate their response.
Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said the hospital, 911, and other emergency response agencies have winterized their facilities so they can operate effectively despite the snow and freezing temperatures. Sinclair said the Union County Recreation Department on Thomas Street in Union is prepared to serve as a cold weather shelter if needed. He said the county has food on hand for county employees and law enforcement personnel who may need to work through the storm.
Sinclair added that the county’s fire departments will be prepared to provide assistance to the residents of their communities should it be needed. In addition, he said that extra personnel will be on duty at 911 and that anyone who finds themselves in an emergency situation should call there for assistance.
“If there’s an emergency, 911 is the place to call,” Sinclair said. “Extra people are on shift and extra ambulances are on duty. So if there’s an emergency call 911.”
Sinclair said that he, along with City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson, Sheriff David Taylor, and representatives of other local governing bodies and emergency organizations have been closely monitoring the developing weather situation. He said that based on the information available the county will be dealing with below freezing temperatures until at least noon Thursday.
“This will not just be an overnight event,” Sinclair said. “We will be watching the situation and will meet tomorrow to again assess the situation.”
County Offices Closed
Union County Clerk of Court Freddie Gault announced this afternoon that, due to the weather, all county offices were closing at 4 p.m.
The threat of snow caused the Union County School District to begin dismissing classes this morning.
“We have decided to close schools early today due to the forecasted bad weather,” Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall said. “Elementary schools will dismiss at 11:30. Middle schools will dismiss at 12:15 followed by the high school at 12:30. We rotate times to accommodate bus and food service schedules.”
Two meetings scheduled for this evening in the Town of Lockhart were canceled because of the threat of snow.
Mayor Ailene Ashe announced this morning that a public hearing scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and a Lockhart Town Council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Lockhart Town Hall had been canceled. Ashe said the hearing and the council meeting will be held on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.
The threat of snow also caused the Town of Carlisle to cancel a meeting scheduled for this evening.
Municipal Administrator Shannon McBride said this morning that the Carlisle Town Council meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. has been canceled. She said the meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Carlisle Town Hall.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, Ext. 14.