The latest: Ice will continue to cause travel problems

jholleman@thestate.comJanuary 28, 2014 

Updated (1:30 p.m.):Fewer flights were cancelled Wednesday than Tuesday at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

A snowstorm that dumped several inches of snow throughout the South snarled travel in some major cities, such as Atlanta. Columbia flights to and from that city were canceled at least through mid-afternoon.

Several flights to and from other cities were delayed by up to about an hour.

Travelers are advised to check with their airlines for up-to-date information on delays and cancellations.

Updated (12:30 p.m.):The winter storm has moved through the state and is now just off the coast, but ice will continue to be a problem on the roadways because below freezing temperatures were in Wednesday's overnight forecast, a S.C. Department of Transportation news release stated.

In the Midlands, including Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Richland and Sumter counties, priority routes and bridges continue to be treated, the release stated. Primary and secondary roads in these counties are likely covered with snow and ice, the release said.

All interstates are passable across the state except for the 1-526 Cooper River bridges in the Charleston area, the release stated.

Updated (10:45 a.m.):Columbia Police Department is using ATVs to check on people in places that patrol cars cannot get to, said spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons.

Columbia has two programs for police to check routinely on elderly or infirm residents. Officers call people enrolled in the programs to be sure they are all right, interim chief Ruben Santiago said. If necessary, an officer in a patrol car will travel to the resident's home to help, he said.

During bad weather, officers may use city ATVs to make house calls, Santiago said.

Updated (9:45 a.m.):Hats off to Jonathan Smith, an 18-year-old student at Richland Northeast High School.

Smith used Wednesday’s snow to ask a girl to the prom at Forest Lake Park.

See the attached photo gallery to see the photo.

Updated (6:30 a.m.):When the snow finally arrived late Tuesday, it blanketed the Midlands of South Carolina before ending early Wednesday.

Early reported depths topped out at 4 inches in the Sandy Run area of Calhoun County, Gaston in Lexington County and Marlboro County, according to reports from law enforcement, media and official observers for the National Weather Service.

The weather office at Columbia Metropolitan Airport measured 1.5 inches at midnight. Other reports in the Midlands ranged from 1.5 inches in Chapin and Newberry to 3 inches in Forest Acres, Lexington and Irmo.

Forecasters expect very little melting of the ice and snow today, with highs in the Midlands barely getting above freezing.

Some people in the Midlands saw 4 inches of snow. See what areas got the most here.

Wednesday travel will be treacherous. Check road conditions here.

The S.C. Highway Patrol is working a number of incidents on roadways. Click here to see a full list.

Most schools and government offices across the region are closed today. Click here to see a full list.

The winter storm has had an impact across the state. Click here to learn more.

Power outages are impacting residents who live in areas that saw ice. Click here to see how utilities have been impacted by the winter weather.

Do you have cute pets? Are they even cuter in the snow? Send us your pet snow photos and videos. Click here to see our gallery.

In Georgia, the governor is sending helicopters and Humvees to rescue children who were stranded by storm.

Original story:The wait was so long they had given up. Then Brooke Magooey got the text message.

“My friend said it was snowing, and we ran outside,” Brooke said. And boy was it snowing in Lexington - big fat flakes that covered vehicles in less than 10 minutes.

She and her three brothers – Ethan, Dalton and Gavin – ran out so fast, one of the boys still was wearing shorts as they wrote the word “snow” and their names in the snow on the car windows. Brooke dared to lick a little snow off one vehicle.

Such was the pent up longing for the white stuff, which had been forecast to arrive around 4 p.m. but held off until about 8:30 p.m. in the Lexington area. At that time, Columbia wasn’t getting much more than light rain or sleet, but the National Weather Service expected 2-4 inches of snow to cover the entire Midlands by the morning and the snow did start in Columbia later Tuesday night.

FULL UP-TO-DATE LIST OF MIDLANDS AREA CLOSINGS

Kids all over the Midlands had frustrated by a snow day without snow. The weather service seemed to be on the right track when light rain mixed with sleet arrived in Columbia around noon, just as forecast. But the moister air took a little longer than expected to arrive in the Midlands, and a warm layer of air stuck around longer than expected. The result: What was expected to be sleet or snow starting around 4 p.m. was just cold rain.

Snow was falling from the upper atmosphere, but it was melting in the warm layer around 4,000 to 7,000 feet, said weather service meteorologist Dan Miller. In some portions of the Midlands, the moisture was refreezing and coming down as sleet.

But as the air cooled throughout the night, forecasters expected the moisture to turn to snow. Schools and public officials had enough confidence in the forecast that most had scheduled a second snow day before the frozen precipitation began to stick.

Whatever snow falls is expected to hang around for a day or two. The low Wednesday morning was expected to be around 20, with a high only around freezing in the afternoon and another hard freeze into the low teens Thursday morning, according to the weather service. The snow melt should begin when temperatures hit the 40s Thursday afternoon.

Gov. Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency in the state long before any snow fell. Snow fell throughout the afternoon in the mountains. By 5 p.m., snow was falling in a band across the north Midlands, from Greenwood to Rock Hill, freezing rain was icing up a band in the south Midlands, from Barnwell to Manning, but the central Midlands was getting nothing but a light rain.

While most of the businesses in Five Points were closed or opened to slim crowds early Tuesday night, Jake’s on Devine was packed for the weekly Yappy Hour, which allows pet owners to bring their dogs into the bar. The dog owners weren’t scared by the chance of a little snow. Kristen Conrad and Dan Weddermann were stunned that so many businesses had closed, some as early as late Monday.

Conrad, originally from Buffalo, took her Corgi-Australian shepherd mix Rambo home in December, and he loved playing in the snow.

“Rambo loves the cold, so I was looking forward to (seeing him play in the snow Tuesday),” Conrad said with light rain falling outside around 7 p.m.. “He still might get a chance.”

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