Haley warns people to stay home, prep for outages

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WCIV) - Gov. Nikki Haley says the winter weather blanketing South Carolina is expected to be worse than a 2004 storm that knocked out power to many residents for a week.

Haley told reporters Wednesday that icy conditions were expected to worsen throughout the day. She implored residents to stay home and warned people to prepare for power outages.

By late morning, power was out for more than 60,000 customers statewide as snow and ice snapped tree limbs and power lines.

President Barack Obama has granted Gov. Nikki Haley's request to declare South Carolina a federal disaster area.

The emergency declaration Tuesday authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance for South Carolina's worst winter storm in a decade. The order opening the way for federal aid is effective dating back to Monday. Three-quarters of the assistance will be federally funded.

The assistance is for all counties in South Carolina.

The federal declaration comes a day after Haley declared a state of emergency in South Carolina. That brought the National Guard to active duty and activated the state's Emergency Operations Plan.

In January 2004, three-quarters of an inch of ice left 250,000 customers without electricity.

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