UNION COUNTY — The snow and below freezing temperatures that a winter storm system brought to Union County earlier this week will begin giving way today to warmer temperatures that will reach nearly 60 degrees by Sunday.
The National Weather Service placed Union County under a Winter Storm Warning on Tuesday because of a surface low and accompanying moisture plume that were trending north that morning bringing with them the threat of snow. The snow began falling Tuesday afternoon and continued to do so before tapering off that night resulting in a total accumulation of one inch according to the National Weather Service.
The snow also brought with it below freezing temperatures that fell into the upper teens Tuesday night. Those below freezing temperatures created icy conditions on county roads that resulted in more than two dozen automobile accidents beginning Tuesday night and continuing into Wednesday afternoon.
Even though the below freezing temperatures persisted throughout the day Wednesday and were expected to fall into the mid-teens Wednesday night, the National Weather Service is forecasting a warming trend that will begin today and continue into the weekend.
Doug Outlaw, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said Wednesday that while temperatures would fall to as low as 14 degrees in Union County that night “this will be the last really cold night” the county will experience this week. Outlaw said today’s temperatures will rise above freezing for the first time since Tuesday, reaching a high of 42 degrees and that tonight’s low would fall to only 22 degrees. He said that Friday will be even warmer with a high of 50 degrees during the day and a low of 32 at night while Saturday’s high would be 56 degrees in the daytime and a nighttime low of 45. Sunday will be even warmer with a high of 60 degrees.
On Tuesday, in the face of the approaching storm, the Union County School District responded by dismissing classes before noon while the Union County Courthouse closed early that afternoon. The schools and the courthouse both remained closed Wednesday while the City of Union operated on a delayed basis, opening at 10 a.m.
USC Union, the Union County Carnegie Library, and other local organizations were closed Wednesday due to the weather while a number of local churches canceled their evening services.
The towns of Carlisle and Lockhart were forced by the storm to cancel meetings scheduled for Tuesday night and reschedule them tonight.
Local officials responded to the approaching storm system by meeting and coordinating any and all needed emergency responses including putting more emergency personnel on shift at 911 and more ambulances on call; preparing to open the Union County Recreation Department as an emergency shelter if needed; having food on hand for government and law enforcement personnel that might have to work through the storm; and winterizing medical and other emergency facilities so they could continue operating despite the weather.
Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said Wednesday that local officials met again today to assess the situation and decided to maintain readiness in face of the continuing below freezing temperatures. He praised the cooperation displayed in the effort which he said shows how dedicated local governing, law enforcement, and emergency agencies are to the safety of the community.
“While nothing is routine in this type of situation, the engagement, the cooperation, and mutual support by David Taylor, Harold Thompson and Sam White, and the entire emergency response system is somewhat becoming almost routine,” Sinclair said. “That’s a tribute to those folks working together. We will meet in a couple of days to review what and how things could have been done different and better, but I think the folks in Union can rest comfortably that public safety at the county level, the city level, and emergency medical response will do all they can to make sure our community goes through these type of events as safely as possible.”
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234.