Let the grocery games begin: Gearing up for snow in the Midlands

Preparing for snow in South Carolina

National Weather Service meteorologist, Dan Miller, gives helpful tips in preparing for wintry weather in South Carolina.
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National Weather Service meteorologist, Dan Miller, gives helpful tips in preparing for wintry weather in South Carolina.

Even if it’s just a dusting of snow in the Midlands this weekend, folks already are stocking up on the staples – and sleds!

Columbia-area grocery and hardware stores were busy, though not necessarily hectic, Thursday ahead of wintry weather predicted overnight Friday and Saturday. And they expect to see even more shoppers Friday.

Preparing for the worst is better than dealing with the consequences of being unprepared, said Melissa Brown, assistant manager at Ace Hardware on State Street in Cayce.

While some of the store’s older customers express dread at the possibility of snow or ice, Brown said, the younger crowd and those with children are gearing up for, hopefully, a little fun.

“We’ve sold a lot of sleds today,” she said. “If it gets worse we’re just going to sell our trashcan lids.”

Columbia could receive about half an inch to an inch of snow, beginning to fall early Saturday morning through about lunchtime, the National Weather Service predicts. Rain is expected Friday night before the snow, and up to a tenth of an inch of freezing rain is likely to fall Saturday after the snow.

At Cedar Terrace Hardware on Garners Ferry Road, folks started calling and coming in as early as Wednesday looking for rock salt, outdoor faucet covers, lamp wicks, flashlights and other supplies that might come in handy in case of ice or a power outage, owner Jay McAlister said.

The threat of winter weather can certainly throw Columbians into a prepping frenzy, McAlister said. Their real fear, he said, is losing electricity.

He remembers some years back when the area experienced a power outage with an ice storm. Then, “about a month later, it clouded up and they were calling for more (bad weather). And it got real hectic. And one of my employees said, ‘Now I know what mass panic is.’ ”

If Columbians don’t want to deal with dark homes, frozen pipes or icy driveways, they also don’t want to be caught without sustenance.

“I think there’s some overreaction” when winter weather is predicted, said Darrell Miller, who owns the Piggly Wiggly grocery store on Devine Street. “People are super concerned that they’re not caught short. But I think it’s better than being caught short. So I think that’s OK.”

Given the early notice of this weekend’s possible weather, the store has been able to stock up on typical “high-volume” items such as bread, milk, eggs, bottled water and deli meats, Miller said.

The situation was similar at other area grocery stores, with steady streams of customers coming in for those trusty “milk sandwich” ingredients (or whatever it is we Southerners do with all that bread and milk).

“People in Columbia don’t get a lot of snow, so when they get threats of it, they go wild,” said Calvin Rash, district manager for BI-LO stores in the Columbia area.

Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.

Cancellations and rescheduled events

Historic Columbia: Second Sunday Roll bus tour of Lower Richland, rescheduled for Sunday, June 11.

Lexington 1: All Saturday activities canceled, including athletics and school board workshop.

Lexington 2: All Saturday activities canceled

Richland 1: All Saturday athletic events canceled, including high school basketball games and Dreher wrestling invitational. Reschedule dates have not yet been provided.

Rescheduled high school basketball games:

Chapin at A.C. Flora will be played at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Pelion at Brookland-Cayce will be played at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Lexington at Dutch Fork will be played at 4:30 p.m. Friday (girls) and 6 p.m. Friday (boys)

Lugoff-Elgin at Hartsville will be played at 5 p.m. Friday (girls) and 6:30 p.m. (boys)

River Bluff at Lugoff-Elgin has been rescheduled for Feb. 1

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