Lowcountry officials urge caution during possible winter weather mix

BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) - Temperatures hovering at or below freezing all day Wednesday could mean ponds or smaller bodies of water could freeze on the surface, and be tempting for kids home from school to venture out on.

That could quickly turn into a dangerous situation, though, one the Bluffton Police Department wants you and your family to avoid.

"Parents, please be vigilant. If you have retention ponds in your neighborhood, which most do in Bluffton, keep an eye on that. Keep an eye on your children, keep an eye on your pets to make sure that no one goes out there thinking that they can play some ice hockey, and end up falling through and it turns into a very serious situation," Bluffton Police Department PIO Joy Nelson said.

Nelson says extra officers patrolling Wednesday is likely, and they'll be closely monitoring the roads along with local, county and state road crews.

"Ice is going to be an issue. There are a lot of people who live down here that have never had to deal with ice before," Nelson said.

As emergency responders prepare for the across the Lowcountry prepare for the winter storm, so too are the people who live here.

"Our plan is to stay in the house, for the whole winter," Ridgeland resident Darrell Grayson said.

The whole winter might be a bit extreme but for this storm, Jasper County's Emergency Services deputy chief says that's a good idea.

"The key here is if you don't need to be out, don't be out," said Russell Wells, with Jasper County Emergency Services.

Power crews will also be keeping an eye on a potentially strained power grid, and any outages the storm causes.

An official with Palmetto Electric says preventative measures will hopefully cut back on any issues with lines.

"Palmetto Electric has a pretty aggressive vegetation management program. So, we are on a four-year cycle. We are out there maintaining our rights of way, cutting trees back away from the power lines," Palmetto Electric Vice President of Engineering and Operations Wil Saleeby said. "We have a couple of major concerns with winter storms such as this one. The first is ice accumulation. The second is a high amount of electric usage, which puts an added burden or strain on the electrical distribution system."

In Bluffton, if you do encounter a slick intersection or patch of road, you can call the police department non-emergency at 843.706.4550 and public works will treat the area.

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