Last updated: February 14. 2014 9:28AM - 878 Views
By - cwarner@civitasmedia.com

Photo by Melinda LittlejohnAs this Cardinal takes flight, the bright red of his feathers and the movement of his wings are a sharp contrast to the snow and ice covered stillness he leaves to soar into the sky.
Photo by Melinda LittlejohnAs this Cardinal takes flight, the bright red of his feathers and the movement of his wings are a sharp contrast to the snow and ice covered stillness he leaves to soar into the sky.
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UNION COUNTY — The winter storm system that brought three days of snow and ice began to loosen its grip on Union County Thursday afternoon.

The system arrived on Tuesday, bringing the first round of winter weather that dropped up to three inches of snow to some parts of the county. The snow tapered off by that evening, only to be succeeded Wednesday morning by even more snow followed by ice as the system regained strength. Snow and ice continued throughout the day and snow continued to fall Thursday morning.

The winter weather forced the closing of the county’s schools, government agencies, many stores and other businesses, and cancellation of church services. The weather also created hazardous driving conditions that resulted in a number of automobile accidents on Wednesday and kept many Union County residents at home.

That all started to change Thursday which began with overcast skies delivering several rounds of snow throughout the morning, but gradually gave way to clearing skies.

James Oh, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Greer, said that, according to reports the NWS has received, the system brought up to eight inches of snow to Union County as of Thursday morning. Oh said that while there might be some lingering light snow showers, the precipitation would taper off by the afternoon. He said skies would be clear Thursday night and today.

Oh said temperatures would reach a high of the upper 30s Thursday afternoon before falling back into the mid- to upper-20s Thursday night. He said they would reach into the low- to mid-40s by this afternoon.

The warming temperatures will be a welcome development for officials who were working to get life back to normal in Union County.

The Union County Courthouse shut down at noon Tuesday and remained closed Thursday, but Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said efforts were under way to make it possible for the courthouse and other county facilities to reopen Friday.

“We’re trying to clear the courthouse, to clear the annex, to clear DSS, to try to get essential local and state offices open tomorrow,” Sinclair said Thursday afternoon. “Monday is a holiday, so if we don’t get them open tomorrow then we’ll have gone several days plus a holiday weekend without providing those services.

“For example, folks have been at home creating garbage and recyclable material,” he said. “So we’re trying real hard to be sure the lots are cleared so we can reopen the recycling centers tomorrow and Saturday.”

Sinclair also reported that the canopies over some of the bleachers at the Timken Sports Complex would have to be replaced due to storm damage.

“We kept the snow off the canopies at Timken until it got ahead of us early this morning,” Sinclair said. “Consequently, the weight of the snow and ice that accumulated during the night caused four of the canopies to fail. They are beyond repair and will have to be replaced.”

Sinclair thanked both the people of Union County and the personnel of the county’s Public Works Department and Vehicle Maintenance Shop for their efforts to help mitigate the problems caused by the storm.

“My hat is off to the citizens for not acting unsafely on the roads for the most part,” Sinclair said. “Also, our Public Works Department for keeping the hospital and rural fire departments pretty much open to traffic and to th County Vehicle Maintenance Shop for keeping EMS open to traffic.”

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, Ext. 14.

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