Columbia, SC (WLTX) - One of the heaviest snowfalls in the Midlands history of the Midlands moved through the area Friday, leaving behind a thick blanket of snow, treacherous conditions on roadways---and fun for some. Related link: WLTX Weather Page for Columbia, SC and the Surrounding Area
The snow began falling around 3 p.m. Friday afternoon. Starting off slowly, it eventually picked up. News19 Chief Meteorologist Jim Gandy says at one point, snow was coming down at a rate of two inches an hour. Submit It! Upload Your Snow Pictures from this Snowstorm | Upload Your Video |See Your Pictures and Video
As the snow wound down, there were some staggering snow totals reported. Accumulations of 6 to 8 inches of snow were common across the Midlands, with the greatest amounts near I-20 from Aiken to Bishopville. This included much of the Columbia and Orangeburg areas.
At the National Weather Service's main reporting station at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, recorded 7 inches of snow. Much of the Midlands saw totals of at least 5 inches. Reports from Pelion and near Lake Murray said as much as 8 inches of snow fell, and one from the town of North in Orangeburg County was over 11 inches.
The snow totals are the sixth highest recorded in Columbia. Number seven, for the record, was back in 1912, when 8.1 inches were recorded.
Unlike most snowstorms, which tend to dump their heaviest snowfalls in the Northern Midlands, the structure of this system put snow on the ground in places such as Sumter, Orangeburg, and southern Lexington County, places unaccustomed to large snowfall totals.
As the snow fell, conditions on roads deteriorated rapidly. By about 6 p.m., there were dozens of reports of drivers spinning out in roadways and accidents. At one point, several of the major roads ways in and out of Columbia had blockages due to accidents. Many of those were cleared, but the threat had not been eliminated.
The City of Columbia issued a statement late Friday night urging drivers to stay off the roadways unless absolutely necessary. That was a sentiment echoed by the South Carolina Highway Patrol, who said many bridges and overpasses had frozen over, and secondary roadways were packed with snow. Helpful Link: Snow Driving Tips | South Carolina Department of Transportation Traffic Cameras
After daybreak, the snow is expected to begin to melt. The high temperature is expected to be around 40 degrees. This will clear the interstates and major roadways of snow. However, because of the amount of snow that fell, small secondary roads through neighborhoods will have snow on them into Sunday. A complete melting of snow on yards and sidestreets likely won't happen until Monday.
Snow on power lines did lead to some outages. At one point Friday evening, there were almost 10,000 homes and businesses without power in Richland and Lexington Counties.
It wasn't all concern, however. Many of you submitted pictures of you and your families enjoying playing in the snow, and building snowmen. And while many activities and events were shut down, we found people in Columbia's Vista and Five Points enjoying a night out, and a snowball fight.
We'll send out alerts when watches or warnings are issued. You can sign for weather texts (and other breaking news) by going to the WLTX Text Alert Page.
Here's a sampling of the snow totals received by WLTX.
7.5 inches of snow in Saint Matthews. Calhoun County. 6 Miles from OcTech
In Norway, a town in Northwest Orangeburg. 3.5"
5.5" of snow in Spring Valley. Rain gauge filled with snow and froze
5 inches on the ground in Sumter
Just measured 6" exactly on my deck in Camden
Measuring on my deck it's 7 1/4" Rosewood
6.5" Sparrow point road Lexington, SC
6 1/2 inches of snow near Crayton Middle School Columbia
7 inches of snow in the reback whiteknoll area
west columbia and we have 8" in our front yard
8 inches of snow on our back deck in Lexington
Mineral Springs Road in Lexington 6.25"
Pond Branch area (near exit 44, Leesville) we have about 7 inches
5.5 inches of snow here in Blythewood in Willow Lake area.
Here in Ridgeway we have 4.5 inches of snow.
We have 4 inches in Alcolu,SC!!
Near Lexington/Gilbert area, we measured about 8 inches of snow.
St. matthews SC we have 5 1/2 inches of snow
The Pines subdivision behind the VA hospital and have a measurable 5.5 inches of snow accumulation.
North (Orangeburg Co.) 6-11 "
Sumter towards Pinewood 6.5"
Off Leesburg Rd (Richland Co.) 8"
Sumter/Clarendon Line 6.25"
Branchville (Orangeburg Co.) 7"
Winnsboro (Fairfield Co.) 5"
Lugoff (Kershaw Co.) 7"
Gaston (Lexington Co.) 7"
Batesburg-Leesville (Lexington Co.) 7"
National Weather Service - Columbia, SC
THE FOLLOWING ARE UNOFFICIAL STORM TOTAL ACCUMULATIONS IN INCHES.
*********************** SNOWFALL REPORTS ***********************
STORM TIME/DATE COMMENTS
LOCATION SNOWFALL OF
BAMBERG 3 1945 2/12 HIGHWAY DEPT
BAMBERG 4 2245 2/12 PUBLIC REPORT
BARNWELL 3 2000 2/12 LAW ENFORCEMENT
PAGELAND 1 1940 2/12 PUBLIC REPORT
BETHUNE 10SW 5 2215 2/12 PUBLIC REPORT
BETHUNE 6SW 3 2220 2/12 PUBLIC REPORT
BISHOPVILLE 4NNW 7 2300 2/12 PUBLIC REPORT
LEXINGTON 7 2215 2/12 NWS EMPLOYEE
LEXINGTON 3NE 6 2137 2/12 NWS EMPLOYEE
LEXINGTON 2WNW 7 2345 2/12 NWS EMPLOYEE
SILVERSTREET 5NW 5 2230 2/12 TRAINED SPOTTER
ORANGEBURG 6 2310 2/12 EMERGENCY MANAGER
DENTSVILLE 4NNE 4 2035 2/12 TRAINED SPOTTER
IRMO 6 2200 2/12 PUBLIC REPORT
COLUMBIA (DOWNTOWN) 6 2220 2/12 PUBLIC REPORT
COLUMBIA 4ESE 7 2300 2/12 PUBLIC REPORT
SUMTER 3 2030 2/12 AMATEUR RADIO
EVANS 7 2310 2/12 PUBLIC REPORT
BLYTHE 4 2010 2/12 PUBLIC REPORT