Almost 100,000 electric customers across South Carolina are in the dark as a winter storm moves through the state bringing snow, sleet and ice.
Gov. Nikki Haley is warning the storm could be worse than the ice storm in 2004 that left some people without power for a week. Haley has asked the president to declare the state a federal disaster area allowing the state to get help from the Federal Emergency Management agency as it recovers from the storm.
In January 2004, three-quarters of an inch of ice left 250,000 customers without electricity statewide.
Officials are asking people not to drive as the storm move through.
The latest update from the state Department of Transportation is that all interstates are passable, but some have snow and sleet on the surface.
Gov. Nikki Haley, warning that a winter storm could kill power in some areas of the state for two weeks, asked the president on Wednesday to declare South Carolina a federal disaster area as the second winter storm in two weeks hit the state with snow, ice and freezing rain.
By late morning, power was out to more than 40,000 customers statewide as snow and ice snapped tree limbs and power lines and caused dozens of traffic accidents across the state.
The governor's office said the disaster request to President Barack Obama will allow the state to get help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency such as food and generators to help in the storm recovery. The federal government would pay 75 percent of the cost. Obama signed such a declaration for Georgia earlier in the week.
Emergency officials fear the power losses will get worse before the storm moves out of the state Thursday.
"Ice accumulation, which is the greatest threat to South Carolina and its citizens, is expected to impact over 80 percent of the state with amounts of greater than .25 inches," Haley wrote the president.
She said 600,000 people lived in an area expecting an inch of ice or more and warned power could be out for two weeks in some areas. A day earlier, the governor had declared a state of emergency in South Carolina, bringing the National Guard to active duty to support state agencies with its wrecker teams and four-wheel drive vehicles. It also activated the state's Emergency Operations Plan.
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