In the immediate aftermath of government offices closing earlier today, Richland County residents are reminded to take special precautions to keep their families, pets and property safe over the next several days as bitter temperatures continue affecting the Midlands.
“We are experiencing unusual winter weather and forecast models indicate temperatures will remain well below normal through this weekend,” said Ken Aucoin, Richland County Emergency Planner/Chief Meteorologist.
At around 2:30 p.m. today, RCWINDS - Richland County’s weather information network data system – recorded a slight amount of snow falling in extreme eastern sections of the County. RC Winds continues to monitor current weather conditions as the National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for Richland County until 10 p.m. tonight, with the possibility of more snow falling in some areas.
Frigid conditions have impacted the County since Dec. 31, resulting in temperature readings well below normal. Average temperatures during this time of year range from a high of 55 degrees to lows of 34 degrees. Since Sunday, Dec. 31, daytime temperatures have remained in the 30s with nighttime lows below freezing. To protect themselves, pets, plants and property from freezing temperatures, residents should:
• Dress in layers of lightweight clothing. Wear gloves and a hat to help retain body heat.
• Bring pets indoors, if possible. If not, make sure pets have shelter to keep them warm and access to unfrozen water.
• Turn off water sprinklers. Water from sprinklers can trickle onto sidewalks and roadways before it freezes, resulting in ice patches that are especially unexpected if there hasn’t been recent precipitation.
• Bring potted plants indoors, if possible. Cover outdoor plants.
• Run water to help prevent pipes from freezing.
The Columbia-Richland Fire Department urges residents to use extreme caution while heating homes, noting that some heating sources are the leading causes of residential fires.
Preventative safety tips include:
• Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least three feet away from space heaters.
• Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Turn space heaters off when leaving a room or before going to sleep.
• Clear the area around the fireplace hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
• Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
• Keep air inlets on wood stoves open and never restrict air supply to fireplaces.
For updated Richland County weather forecasts, Richland County residents can access RC Winds at www.rcwinds.com, or tune in to RCTV, the County’s government access channel. RCTV is available on Spectrum Channel 1302, Spectrum Channel 2 in some parts of the County and AT&T U-verse Channel 99.
The latest weather news is also available on social media. For the latest updates from Richland County, follow Richland County on Facebook(/RichlandSC) and Twitter (@RichlandSC).