Richland County Government offices will close Wednesday as the area endures another round of wintry weather that threatens to cover roads and bridges in a layer of ice.
Wednesday’s closing does not apply to essential personnel. Officials will monitor weather conditions Wednesday to determine whether County government will open Thursday. The winter storm also will affect curbside garbage, recycling and yard waste collections as well as the operation of the county landfills. (A separate release will have additional information.)
“Weather conditions predicted Wednesday are expected to make traveling more dangerous than the storm that hit the area two weeks ago because of the potential for more ice-covered roads,” said Richland County Administrator Tony McDonald. “As we monitor this situation, the safety of residents and employees is at the forefront of our decisions.”
The County’s Emergency Services Department (ESD) urges residents and employees to prepare and stay tuned to local media for updates. Residents should ensure cell phones and other mobile devices are charged in the event of power outages later and avoid travel unless absolutely necessary – keeping in mind, power outages applies to traffic lights and signals.
The ESD issued details on how the wintry mix could affect the area Tuesday night through Thursday afternoon.
· Tuesday night and Wednesday:
o Freezing rain and sleet between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.
o Precipitation continues all day
o Rainfall near 2 inches.
o Ice accumulations: ¾”-1”
o Travel hazards major (very dangerous)
o Power outages likely
o Temperatures: 28-32
o Wind: NE 12-20 mph
o Wintry mix diminishing and ending mid-morning
Officials are concerned accumulating ice will topple trees and down power lines. County public safety departments spent Tuesday preparing for the storm, tapping into emergency plans used to successfully respond to the winter blast last month.
Public Work’s road and drainage crews have pre-treated roads in critical areas – fire stations, County buildings, high priority roads, magistrates’ offices and streets in some neighborhoods. In addition, motor graders are being installed with carbide blades to help clear ice off County maintained roads, as well as the Jim Hamilton-LB Owens Airport and interstates.
“Our crews did an outstanding job last time and I’m sure they’ll do the same again,” said County Engineer Ismail Ozbek.
Support Services focused on pre-treating entryways of County buildings – particularly outlying emergency stations – and is ready to assist in cleaning up in the aftermath of the storm, said John Hixon, Director of the County’s Department of Support Services.
Support Services staff will work with road and drainage crews as needed to remove debris and ensure emergency vehicles have clear roads.