Beaufort News

Schools delayed as winter weather threatens Lowcountry

Taking no chances with the freezing weather rolling into the Lowcountry, Beaufort County school officials announced Sunday night that all public schools will open two hours later today.

Students who ride buses to school will be picked up two hours later than their normal schedule, school district officials said.

Though no accumulation is expected, Beaufort County residents should be prepared for a mixture of freezing rain, snow and sleet, according to the National Weather Service. High temperatures Monday are expected to be in the low 40s. Precipitation is expected to start early this morning and could create hazardous driving conditions through the evening.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island also has delayed hours for some employees today. Non-essential personnel should report to the recruit depot at 10 a.m.

Additionally, all state government offices will be closed Monday because of the weather, Gov. Mark Sanford's office said Sunday night.

State officials warn that driving on icy or snowy roads can be dangerous, and drivers are urged to use extra caution if they must travel.

Highways north and west of Interstate 20, which runs west from Florence to Atlanta and beyond, are most likely to be severely affected by the winter storm. More than 215 workers were deployed Sunday by the state Department of Transportation to begin applying sand and salt brine to interstates and other heavily traveled roads. They also will use snow plows and graders to push accumulated snow and ice off of highways.

Thirty DOT work crews were sent north from the Lowcountry and neighboring coastal areas. The crews that remained will treat bridges and overpasses, which are more likely to be affected by freezing precipitation than surface roads.

"It is not anticipated that there will be enough accumulation (in the Lowcountry and other coastal areas) to have to push from roadways," according to a DOT news release.