Snowed under,Accumulation is most in more than 15 years

COUNTY — Many in Pickens County take a “believe it when I see it” approach to meteorologists’ snow forecasts each winter, as the area is not known for having substantial accumulation.
This winter, however, seems to be a whole different story.
A little more than two weeks after the county’s first documented White Christmas, winter storm warnings for Pickens County were accurate again earlier this week, and the area was blanketed in a deep snow that is likely to stick around throughout the week.
On Monday morning, residents throughout the county awoke to anywhere from seven to nine inches of snow accumulation. According to the National Weather Service (NWS) at the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, storm spotters reported a nine-inch snowfall in Dacusville, a seven-inch snowfall in Pickens and an estimated seven- to eight-inch snowfall in Easley.
Reports from the NWS document that the last storm of this magnitude occurred in January 1993 with Greenville-Spartanburg areas receiving nine inches of snow accumulation.
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford declared a State of Emergency due to the severe winter weather that has affected the entire state.
On Monday, the South Carolina Department of Emergency Management deployed 357 law enforcement personnel from the SC Highway Patrol (SCHP), SLED and the Department of Natural Resources to respond to incidents throughout the state. In addition, wrecker teams made up of 120 National Guard soldiers have been placed on active duty to assist local responders and state agencies in dealing with vehicle accidents and roadway clearings.
The School District of Pickens County closed schools on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in response to the snow storm. Local government offices and various businesses were also closed because of the inclement weather.
Crews from the S.C. Department of Transportation have been working around the clock clearing roadways and attempting to make them safe for travel. Roadways in Pickens, Oconee and Greenville counties have been scoured with approximately 1,500 tons of salt, 1,000 gallons of calcium chloride and 63,000 gallons of salt. The DOT’s focus has been on major, heavily traveled roadways — such as I-85, I-385, U.S. 123 and U.S. 178 — so many back roads have received little or no attention at this point, rendering them the most dangerous to drive.
While no more precipitation is expected this week, the NWS is predicting that the snow on the ground is here to stay for a while. Arctic air moving into the area will keep temperatures approximately 15 degrees below what they would normally be at this time. Only minor amounts of snow will melt during the day as the temperature climbs into the mid 30’s; however, the snow melt presents more dangerous problems as nighttime temperatures in the teens will turn the melted snow into ice.
NWS forecasters predict that black ice and frozen road conditions will linger through at least the middle of the week in Northeast Georgia, the Upstate of South Carolina and much of the mountains and foothills of western North Carolina.
“It’s going to be a rough week ahead,” Pickens County Emergency Management Director Lynn Fisher said, as overnight temperatures are forecasted to drop into the teens by Thursday.
A winter weather advisory for black ice means that there is the possibility and potential for roads to refreeze rendering them extremely slippery. Anyone attempting to head out onto the roads should be extremely cautious. Even though roads may appear clear, it is possible that they are covered with a thin layer of transparent black ice. Bridges have a higher likelihood of freezing, because cold air is able to circulate underneath.
SCHP and SC DOT are asking citizens to stay off roads unless there is an extreme emergency or necessity.