SCDOT preparing for wintry weather

Many roads will be hazardous and many power lines threatened, as the ice and snow accumulates over the Grand Strand and Pee Dee.

That means it will be all hands on deck, as SC Department of Transportation road crews and Horry Electric repair crews get ready to work around the clock over the next couple of days.

Ice build-up will be a big worry for all of them.

The DOT maintenance shop in Conway has 200 tons of salt ready to be spread on area highways.

Crews Monday weren't waiting for the snow and freezing rain to start falling.

Trucks went out a day in advance, to coat bridges with a salt brine mixture that'll help prevent ice from building up.

"The temperature gets a lot cooler on the bridge than it does in the roadway, so this is just a preventive, a pre-treatment method we do," said DOT regional maintenance engineer Shannon Welch.

Since this will be the first big storm of the season, Welch says the DOT has a full inventory of salt and brine to work with, and a full fleet of trucks gassed and ready to go.

All DOT crews will be put on 12 hour shifts, starting 6 a.m. Tuesday. About a dozen DOT salt trucks based in Conway will hit the roads.

"We'll be back in the morning, pre-treating until anything comes our way and then we'll just switch over to salt and start shooting from then on," Welch said.

Ice isn't just a problem for roads. It's also a major headache for utility crews, since it can bring down a power line in more ways than one.

"When it first hits, the trees topple over, due to the ice and then as the ice melts, the trees snap back up and potentially hit the lines again," said Horry Electric spokesperson Penelope Hinson.

Hinson says all Horry Electric repair crews will be on duty for the duration of the storm.

The unpredictability of the snow and ice is a problem and Hinson says utilities are asking for patience from their customers.

"We don't know how widespread or how scattered or concentrated these outages might be, but with weather like this that we're expecting, there are going to be some outages."

Here's information on how to report a report a power outage.

Santee Cooper will also have all of its crews working around the clock, plus private contractors on stand-by if needed.