Haley compares ice storm to hurricane devastation

by Stacy

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCIV) - Gov. Nikki Haley says this week's ice and snow storm has devastated parts of South Carolina worse than a hurricane.

The Republican governor said Friday her driving tour of downtown Aiken made her understand why the storm left 350,000 people without power at the peak.

Statewide, that number had dropped to under 225,000. Nearly a quarter of those were in Aiken County alone, where downed trees and power lines littered roadways. In Colleton County where Haley spent Friday afternoon, she said there were still 15,000 outages.

Haley said the landscape of Walterboro has been damaged, but she says what matters is that people stay safe and help their neighbors.

"An ice storm is so much more damaging than a hurricane," she said in Walterboro. "To see the devastation, this is so much worse than Hugo. I never thought that would be something we'd experience through an ice storm."

Haley asked neighbors to look out for each other, and help people get to the state's numerous warming shelters if they need.

"The biggest concern is we have good number of the elderly people that won't leave their homes. I ask neighbors to check on them. {}Make sure they're ok, have blankets and food," Haley said.

Rep. Kenneth Hodges (D- District 121) said Friday that he hadn't seen such damage in Colleton County since Hurricane Gracie in 1959. He was encouraged by unity shown in the Colleton County community.

"A neighbor who lived six miles away knew there was an elderly lady who lived on a respirator. He brought a generator just in case she needed it," he said.

Haley also said that she had formed a team to look at ways to keep the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston open in the event of another ice storm.

"To heat those cables, to do something to get that done, we're looking at any and all options. At the end of the day, we want people to be able to use that bridge as much as they can. I'd like to think that we have at least a phase of resolutions available within the next several weeks," Haley said Friday.

She also spent time with SCE&G line workers who she said were working 16-18 hour shifts.

Keller Kissan of SCE&G says the storm has been as devastating to the utility's infrastructure as Hurricane Hugo. Kissan said most of Aiken County should have power by sometime Monday.

On Facebook, Haley provided a list of estimates for power to be restored in many counties:

Abbeville, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, Noon

Aiken, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, 11:00 PM

Allendale, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 10:00 PM

Bamberg, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 11:00 PM

Barnwell, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 11:00 PM

Beaufort, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, Noon

Berkeley, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 10:00 PM

Calhoun, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 10:00 PM

Charleston, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, 10:00 PM

Colleton, Monday, Feb. 16, 2014, 11:00 PM

Dorchester, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 11:00 PM

Edgefield, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 11:00 PM

Fairfield, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, Noon

Greenwood, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, Noon

Hampton, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 9:00 PM

Jasper, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 11:00 PM

Kershaw, No weather-related outages

Lexington, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 10:00 PM

McCormick, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 10:00 PM

Newberry, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, Noon

Orangeburg, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, 11:00 PM

Richland, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, Noon

Saluda, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, 11:00 PM

Union, No weather-related outages

The state's Department of Public Safety also had its hands full with weather-related calls. According to officials, the Highway Patrol responded to{}3,904 weather-related calls for service including 1,109 collisions, 1,115 trees in roadways, 247 abandoned vehicles, and Troopers assisted with 11,159 motorists and 159 power lines in the roadway.{}

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Seanna Adcox contributed to this report.

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