Winter weather closed miles of major interstate heading toward Columbia

·2 min read

A 13-mile stretch of a major highway running through the Midlands toward Columbia was closed Sunday morning as a winter storm affected the area.

All of the eastbound lanes on Interstate 26 were closed from mile marker 63 to 76, according to the South Carolina Department of Transportation. I-26 has since reopened, SCDOT told The State.

The section of I-26 east in Newberry County was blocked to all traffic because of weather conditions, SCDOT tweeted. Freezing rain and strong winds affected large swaths of South Carolina, including the Midlands.

Trees and branches were downed by both winter weather effects, with some roads being blocked and power lines to falling into roadways.

A winter weather advisory is in effect for the Midlands through 4 p.m., an ice storm warning has been issued for much of Newberry, Fairfield, Kershaw and Lancaster counties, according to the National Weather Service.

The freezing rain in those counties is expected to continue through 1 p.m., according to the briefing. Half an inch of ice accumulation is possible in the northern parts of the Midlands.

Newberry County is one of the areas where plows are working to clear snow and ice from the roads, SCDOT said.

Conditions will be further complicated by strong wind gusts, some as powerful as 30 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Areas in the northern Midlands could have “nearly impossible road conditions,” the National Weather Service previously said.

“Driving conditions are quickly deteriorating as the storm intensifies,” SCDOT said earlier Sunday morning. ️”Please avoid traveling.”

Drivers are asked to stay off the roads if possible.

Please stay home if you don’t absolutely have to be out on the roads,” Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan said.

Multiple obstructions were reported on highways and roads across the Midlands, including Interstate 20 and Interstate 77, SCDOT said.

Black ice is difficult to see and makes roads very slippery, especially bridges and overpasses. Black ice forms when snow or light rain falls on frozen concrete, freezing quickly to form a layer of ice that is almost invisible against the backdrop of blacktop roads.

No injuries have been reported in the Midlands, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Plows work to clean highways and roads in the Midlands.
Plows work to clean highways and roads in the Midlands.
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