State of emergency declared for Polk
Published 11:56 am Friday, January 22, 2016
by Leah Justice
A state of emergency has been declared for Polk County, according to the Polk County Emergency Management Director with the area still in the middle of the winter storm that began with sleet late Thursday night that turned to snow just after 2 a.m. Friday. Freezing rain and snow has been occurring most of Friday morning, with much of the area reporting between 4-6 inches of snow as of noon Friday. U.S. 176 between Landrum is Tryon is currently open and passable. The South Carolina portion of the road has now been plowed, however. The North Carolina portion of U.S. 176 is more passable and Hwy. 108 from Tryon to Columbus has been scraped and is passable. Hwy. 108 towards Mill Spring is passable but not recommended for travel if it can be avoided. I-26 was closed earlier Friday morning and was backed up in both lanes with tractor trailers jacked knifed all over the interstate particularly between Columbus and Saluda. The interstate reopened Friday afternoon, according to Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge.
Although open, traffic was backed up along I-26 going towards Saluda in Columbus around 1 p.m. Friday.
U.S. 74 has been plowed with no issues as of almost 1 p.m. Friday
Arledge reported Friday that most roads in Polk County were still pretty bad for travel. There were a few trees down and no power outages but there were some areas without power early Friday morning. A shelter was open at the Red Cross building in Columbus Friday but closed Saturday morning. The shelter can be reopened if anyone is in need, according to Arledge.
More sleet, freezing rain and snow is expected through Friday and into Saturday.
In Tryon, the public works department scraped roads Friday and Saturday. Tryon Fire Chief Joey Davis said Friday that town officials strongly discourage travel as the roads were overall not in good shape, especially U.S. 176 in the valley.
Check back with the Bulletin for further updates on road conditions as the winter storm continues.