Sumter, Clarendon, Lee issued winter storm watch to begin Thursday night


Winter storm, take two.

Sumter and the Midlands are again at risk of getting impactful winter weather this week, and the area is already under a winter storm watch to take effect late Thursday night/early Friday morning.

According the National Weather Service, the watch will be in effect from Friday at 1 a.m. through Saturday morning for Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties as well as other Midlands counties to the north and west. Heavy mixed precipitation is in the forecast with the potential for snow, ice, sleet and freezing rain.

The storm is again expected to bring slippery and hazardous road conditions, power outages and tree damage from ice forming and making branches heavy.

NWS predicts temperatures to drop to 30 degrees Thursday night with rain turning into freezing rain Friday. Temperatures should only increase Friday to about 33. Freezing rain might continue Friday night as it drops down to 25 degrees.

Saturday and Sunday have clear forecasts with highs in the low 40s and overnight lows in the mid-to-low 20s.

For those without homes or those without heat in their homes, Sumter United Ministries has a winter shelter open nightly when the forecast predicts temperatures will dip below 40 degrees, or 45 degrees when it is wet and rainy.

The shelter, located at 215 N. Magnolia St., is near downtown Sumter and is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. It does not have to actually drop below 40 for the shelter to open. It is based on the forecast.

Guests are provided warn winter items and a hot dinner.

Daphney Scarborough, shelter director, said earlier this week that only nine people stayed overnight Saturday during the first winter storm that blew through. They had been hosting between 15-20 people before a two-week heat wave hit Sumter during Christmas. When they opened back up, they’ve been seeing about half that number.

She told The Sumter Item on Sunday afternoon that there is room at the shelter for people whose power is out. They can host up to 30 people.

Law enforcement provides security, and staff and volunteers are also on hand.

Guests must leave by 7 a.m. and are provided breakfast.