Power company crews work to restore power across Lowcountry

By 10 a.m. 35,000 in Lowcountry were without power

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- As temperatures dipped below 20 degrees in the Lowcountry, thousands of residents woke up to find their power out.

According to the SCE&G outage map, over 35,300 homes across the Lowcountry service area were without power Tuesday morning. By 11:30 a.m., that number had dropped to around 300. By 1 p.m., that number was above 1,100 across the Lowcountry.

By 4 p.m., that number was below 50.

The outages are also having an impact on traffic as traffic lights around the city are non-functional. Charleston police report that lights are out at the intersections of Meeting and Ann streets, Rutledge Avenue and Grove Street, Rutledge Avenue and Mount Pleasant Street, Calhoun and King streets,Huger Street, Broad Street, and George and Meeting streets.

All lights along the Crosstown are also out.

In North Charleston, lights are out at Rivers Avenue and Dorchester Road, Rivers Avenue and McMillan Road, Meeting Street and Dorchester roads, Rivers Avenue and Mall Drive, Rivers Avenue and the Mark Clark Expressway, Remount Road and Yeamans Hall, Dorchester Road and Wescott Boulevard, and Remount Road at Attaway Street.

In Charleston County, lights are out at Maybank Highway and Riverland Drive, Glenn McConnell Parkway and Bees Ferry Road, and Grand Oaks Boulevard at Bees Ferry Road. Police also say Maybank Highway has experienced multiple outages in a number of locations.

In Mount Pleasant, police reported traffic light outages at Highway 41 and Bessemer, at Highways 17 and 41, and at Highway 17 and Porcher Bluff. Those outages have been fixed.

Lights are also fixed on Coleman Boulevard between Pelzer and Mill Street, police said.

Many of those areas affected by power outages were schools.

The Charleston County School District reported Tuesday morning that power had been disrupted at Buist, Mary Ford, Dunston, School of the Arts, Liberty Hill, Academic Magnet, North Charleston Creative Arts, Charleston Progressive Academy, Lowcountry Tech, Charleston Charter for Math and Science, James Simons, Drayton Hall, James Edwards, and Murray LaSaine and Mitchell.

Power has been restored at all of the schools, officials said. West Ashley High School was reporting no water, but that problem has also been repaired.

At Charleston Charter for Math and Science, officials sent the children home at 10:45 a.m. due to the outage because employees could not make lunches for the students. A decision has not been made about Wednesday yet, officials said.

CCSD officials said they have also not made a decision about early dismissals yet. There are plans for a press conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the district's plan for Wednesday since more regionally extreme temperatures are expected.

The worst of it, early on in the morning, was in West Ashley with 2,443 homes affected from Pinehurst Avenue and Bees Ferry along Ashley River Road crossing into Dorchester County.

SCE&G estimates the repair could take three hours.

SCE&G officials reported extremely heavy load on the power grid, which has caused a lot of the power outages across the Lowcountry. As a result, the utility company said it had lost some of its generating capacity at several power plants.

The company said it would use rolling blackouts to maintain the power grid, but that plan has since been canceled.

Meanwhile other outages are sprinkled around Charleston and Dorchester counties.

Mount Pleasant police took to twitter to warn drivers that the outages were affecting several intersections. They have officers directing traffic where stop lights are out and ask that motorists use caution in those areas.{}

Charleston Water System said there were about 200 customers without water Tuesday morning due to frozen pipes.

In Berkeley County, Berkeley Electric Cooperative is reporting 11 outages affecting only about 141 homes.

Officials in Charleston and Kingstree are working to protect the homeless from the cold with emergency shelters. In Charleston, the sheriff's office will discuss the work camp opening on Leeds Avenue for the homeless. Police in Kingstree opened a shelter Monday night and they expect it to be open again Tuesday night.

To report power outages, customers can call 1-888-333-4465.{}SCE&G's online outage map can be found at{}

As those affected find alternate ways to keep warm, officials ask you keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, heating grate, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use modern UL listed portable heaters that include a tip feature which shuts off the portable electric heaters when they tip over.{}
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • Have a family escape plan that you practice regularly