2016-01-25 / Front Page

Storm brings sleet, snow, freezing rain

But it could have been a whole lot worse
By LARRY HILLIARD & TIM GULLA
Ledger Staff Writers


City of gaffney firefighters and street department workers responded to Russell Street on Friday morning with chainsaws at the ready after snowfall caused a very large limb to break and fall onto a college student’s parked car. Luckily, several officials reported, forecasts for high wind gusts during the storm didn’t come to fruition, likely sparing Cherokee County from a lot more damage. 
(Ledger photo / TIM gULLa) City of gaffney firefighters and street department workers responded to Russell Street on Friday morning with chainsaws at the ready after snowfall caused a very large limb to break and fall onto a college student’s parked car. Luckily, several officials reported, forecasts for high wind gusts during the storm didn’t come to fruition, likely sparing Cherokee County from a lot more damage. (Ledger photo / TIM gULLa) Fortunately for county residents, Mother Nature was a bit fickle here this past weekend.

Rather than dumping mostly ice or even snow, winter storm Jonas dumped a mixture of precipitation in the form of sleet, freezing rain and a bit of snow, sparing the county the worst, Cherokee County Emergency Preparedness Director Rick Peterson said.

“What helped us is that we just didn’t have freezing rain all the time,” Peterson said. “We had a bit of everything… freezing rain, sleet, and snow.”


The hill on the 17th hole at Cherokee National is a popular spot for sledding, as these snow lovers prove. 
(Photo / Shag STEPP) The hill on the 17th hole at Cherokee National is a popular spot for sledding, as these snow lovers prove. (Photo / Shag STEPP) The high winds forecasted, predicted to gust as much as 25 mph, which could have brought down tree limbs and power lines, never became a threat, either.

In general, the county received about four inches of accumulation, with about one-quarter of it as ice.

Most businesses that closed Friday reopened either on Saturday or Sunday. Thousands of churchgoers, though, had to make due with hearing an uplifting message on television as virtually all the local churches cancelled services Sunday.

Meanwhile, there was little in the way of outages, with Duke Energy having the most with 700 to 800 customers without power. Those residents had power restored Saturday.

The Gaffney Board of Public Works and Broad River Electric reported little or no weather-related outages.

The state Department of Transportation and local government road crews did an outstanding job of keeping I-85 and the primary roads clear, Peterson said.

While an exact count wasn’t immediately available from state officials, most traffic accidents that occurred at the storm first hit were believed to be minor and no serious injuries were reported.

“We only had two medical calls and no weather-related calls,” reported Cherokee Creek Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Billy Bishop. “Luckily people stayed off the roads.”

The situation was similar in the Antioch Volunteer Fire Department district, where Chief Lucas McDaniel said firefighters only responded to two medical calls during the storm and both were were not related to the weather.

An activated carbon monoxide alarm call Saturday night turned out to be a faulty alarm, he said.

In the Goucher White-Plains fire district, firefighters were warning Sunday morning that snowy and icy patches remained on some secondary roadways, especially in shaded areas.

One motorist traveling from Georgia was stranded here but she was placed in a shelter Friday and back on the road Saturday morning, Peterson said.

What remains of the frozen precipitation should melt today with the temperature expected to rise to 50 degrees before rain moves into the area Tuesday.

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