After a day of sleet and freezing rain caused hundreds of crashes across the western Carolinas, forecasters warned of the possibility of black ice as the storm moves out of the region.
The National Weather Service extended a winter weather advisory issued for the region until noon Saturday. Forecasters said sub-freezing temperatures Friday night will refreeze any of the wintry precipitation that melted during the day. They said bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads will be the most likely places to experience black ice.
The worst of the wintry weather moved through the Upstate just after lunchtime. The heavy sleet and freezing rain caused roads to quickly become slippery. That was when a majority of the crashes were reported.
Lance Cpl. Bill Rhyne, of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, said that between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. there were 578 calls for service in Troop 3, which covers much of the Upstate.
One of those calls was for a crash involving an Anderson County deputy on Interstate 85. The crash happened about 4:30 p.m. near the 32-mile marker on the northbound side. Chad McBride, spokesman for the Anderson County Sheriff's Office, said the deputy was traveling home when his cruiser ran off the road and hit a guard rail. He said the vehicle sustained damage, but the deputy was not injured. He said there had been several calls about icy conditions on that stretch of the interstate.
A Greenville County deputy hit a sign post along I-85 at Pleasantburg Drive about 4 p.m. Jonathan Smith, spokesman for the Greenville County Sheriff's Office, said the deputy was not injured, but the cruiser sustained damage. He said the crash was likely caused by the wintry weather.
About 8:45 a.m. Friday, troopers reported a fatal crash on state Highway 9 in Spartanburg County, but they said it was not weather-related. There was also a fatal crash along U.S. 123 in Pickens County on Friday.
Most of the wintry mix had ended by 4 p.m., but officials reminded drivers that bridges and overpasses can still be slippery despite the lack of precipitation. Drivers were advised to keep their speed low, and give themselves extra room to brake.
Chuck Reynolds from the South Carolina Department of Transportation also warned drives to watch for sand and salt trucks.
"These things throw out salt and sand and it can go up on the windshield, so just kind of stay back away from them," Reynolds said.
SCDOT reported 329 maintenance employees were working on roads throughout the state. The agency said 296 tons of salt, 443 tons of sand and 259,040 gallons of salt brine had been used to increase traction on roads.
Sandy Dees, of Greenville Hospital Systems, said that most of the injuries doctors had treated Friday were caused by crashes. She said other patients were treated for injuries suffered in a slip or fall.
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