As the threat of icy weather moved in, some across the Upstate reported spotty sleet in their backyards Friday morning, prompting several Upstate schools and businesses to close early.
FOX Carolina received several calls from residents in the Easley, Berea, Travelers Rest and other northern Upstate areas where they said they saw sleet and ice. In preparation for the icy weather, crews across the Upstate began treating roads with anti-icing agents for Friday.
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for most of the western Carolinas and northeast Georgia from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday. Abbeville, Greenwood and Elbert counties were also added to the advisory.
Madison, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey counties' advisory was upgraded to a winter storm warning, with up to 0.5" of sleet possible and freezing rain accumulating with a chance for dangerous glazing throughout the day.
Several Upstate school districts dismissed early at 10 a.m. including Greenville, Pickens, Oconee counties and Anderson Districts One, Three and Four elementary. Anderson District Five and District Four Middle and High students dismissed at 11 a.m. along with all Spartanburg County districts and some Laurens County districts.
Abbeville County, Anderson District Two and Union County announced noon dismissals. Some school districts in Greenwood along with Union county also announced early dismissals.
Additionally, several local colleges including Clemson University, Furman University and Wofford College closed for the day. A complete list of school and business closings can be found here.
Temperatures dropped into the middle 20s in the Upstate and near 20 degrees in the mountains Friday morning, allowing for a snow, sleet and freezing rain mix to fall across the Upstate, western North Carolina and northeast Georgia, which should last until about noon, according to FOX Carolina Meteorologist Alex Wilson.
Wilson said the freezing rain continue from noon until 4 p.m.,mostly in the northern Upstate and western North Carolina. She said there be some spotty freezing rain in the southern part of the Upstate.
FOX Carolina Chief Meteorologist Kendra Kent said the accumulations of ice will range from 0.05" in the lower elevations to nearly 0.2" in the southwestern mountains of North Carolina. She said in the northwest Upstate, up to 0.1" accumulation is possible, with bridges and overpasses becoming slick.
Even a little ice can cause problems on the roads, Kent said. She said a glaze of ice will be possible on mainly bridges and overpasses in the Upstate.
"That's where out biggest concerns are," said Scott Allison, of the South Carolina Department of Transportation. "Our conditions could deteriorate from lunchtime to whenever everybody gets off work"
For that reason, crews began spraying salt brine on bridges and overpasses. SCDOT crews concentrated on interstates in the area before moving to bridges in the county.
School leaders in Greenville County kept a watchful eye on the forecast. Oby Lyles, spokesman for Greenville County Schools, said there are more than 20 people involved in the decision to cancel classes.
"We try to make it as soon as possible, because we want to make it before buses roll," Lyles said. "Sometimes, it could be you close school for the day. It could be a two-hour delay or more than that."
Allison said no matter what happens, everyone should prepare for the worst.
"Stock up on your supplies before noon tomorrow," Allison said. "Be ready to not be able to travel for 24 hours on those back roads."
While most Upstate roads were not covered in ice by noon on Friday, the Highway Patrol reported numerous accidents across the area.
Temperatures will drop into the 20s again Friday night before climbing into the upper 40s by Saturday afternoon.
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