Camden prepares to get snowed under

ccope@thestate.comJanuary 28, 2014 

— Many Camden residents spent the day Tuesday asking one question: “What snow?”

Despite a few flurries that didn’t stick and gray skies, the day was spent not enjoying snow, but preparing for it.

Camden was expected to be in the region of the Midlands that gets the most snow, with the forecast calling for nearly 4 inches.

A few antiques stores remained open while a couple of other shops were closed, but overall foot traffic in downtown shops was slow.

Rusty Davis, owner of Davis & Son’s Guitar Shop in downtown Camden and father of country music singer Patrick Davis, jokingly wrote a song called “Snow Blues” about the lack of snow.

But the anticipation was still there.

Early in the day people had stopped by Books on Broad to get a cup of coffee to warm up and buy books in case they got snowed in, said owners Laurie and Bill Funderburk.

Catharine deLoach, who works at Box, Paper, Scissors, had sent her husband out to buy batteries in preparation for the storm, she said. She said her teenage son didn’t have school, so he had a couple of friends spend the night in anticipation of snow Tuesday.

She said they would most likely find the biggest hill in Camden to sled down – possibly without a sled.

“They’ll find something – some big plastic thing to slide on,” deLoach said.

Her other son is at The Citadel and praying they would get snow down in Charleston, she said.

Meanwhile, the city’s Public Works Department fueled all of its vehicles and equipment, said Director Tom Couch.

A couple of dump trucks were full of sand in case the sand needed to be put out at key intersections.

The department also coordinated with the police and fire departments to provide transportation for nurses and doctors, if needed.

Camden Police Chief Joe Floyd said the greatest concern was not snow, but ice, which results in traffic accidents and power outages.

Public Works also provides electricity to 9,350 customers — everyone within the city limits and parts of Kershaw, Lee and Sumter counties — and had rows of transformers on standby, in case some went out in the storm.

“We’re as prepared as we can be,” said Sam Davis, deputy director.

Couch encouraged people who did not need to be on the road to stay off if conditions are bad. He also warned residents to assume downed power lines are live and to stay away from them.

Jerry Marthers, the city’s electrical safety superintendent, has experience repairing damage from bad storms. Marthers joined the Hurricane Sandy relief effort in November 2012 and helped repair downed power lines and change transformers.

On Tuesday, he helped the department prepare in case similar relief efforts were necessary, but he did not expect the winter storm to be nearly as bad as the aftermath of Sandy.

Joe Cantey was born in Camden and lived in New York for about 30 years before he came back South to retire. Up North, snow is just a part of life, he said.

“Down here, when you get an inch of snow it shuts everything down,” Cantey said.

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