UNION COUNTY — Sleet and freezing rain are predicted for Union County beginning later this morning and continuing into the evening and state and county personnel were making preparations Thursday to keep the roads clear of ice.
John Tomko, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Greer, said Thursday that a Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Union from noon Friday to 10 p.m. Friday.
“We’re expecting freezing rain accumulating to .1200 of an inch in the northern part of the county and a trace in the southern part,” Tomko said. “The precipitation is going to move in as a mix of light snow and light sleet at 9 a.m. By midday it is going to be all sleet. It will switch to freezing rain by early afternoon.
“In the north it will almost all be freezing rain,” he said. “It will mix with rain in the middle of the county and will mainly be rain in the southern part of the county.”
Tomko said the maximum temperature Friday will 35° and minimum temperature Friday night will be 27°.
While the system bringing the precipitation is expected to leave the county overnight, Tomko cautioned that problems could linger into Saturday morning on remote untreated roads.
The S.C. Department of Transportation was taking steps Thursday to reduce the amount of problems the sleet and freezing rain could cause on the county’s bridges, roads, and highways.
“We’re out spraying brine on the roads and bridges,” Phil Hinson, resident engineer for SCDOT’s Union County office, said. “We’re also putting a light coat of coat of salt on the bridges and on steep inclines like at the hospital. We will be putting out brine at the first responders and at the hospital so they can get out if they need to. We’ve been doing this all day long since 10 a.m.”
Hinson said his office staff would work their regular shift Thursday and then begin 12-hour shifts this morning with half the office’s 32 staff members on duty during the day shift and the other half on duty at night. He said this would continue until noon Saturday.
The SCDOT’s Union County office has 10 trucks equipped with snow plows and salt and sand spreaders. There are also two brine trucks which spray the salt and water combination.
Union County Public Works Director John Gibson said his department is also ready for today’s weather.
“We’ve been hauling sand in here today so we’ll be ready if it’s needed,” Gibson said Thursday. “We’re just waiting now to see where we have to put it out.”
Gibson said his department’s scraper is ready and so is its sprayer that puts out a liquid salt solution that melts ice. He said a total of six county personnel including himself will come in to clear the roads if needed.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.