State leaders warn of harm from storm’s winds and cold

Gov. Brian Kemp and other top state leaders outline their preparation for a deep freeze that's headed for Georgia.
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 10:59 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 22, 2022 at 12:08 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - Georgia and South Carolina officials are warning residents to take precautions against high winds and bitterly cold temperatures from an approaching arctic blast.

The governors of both states have declared an emergency ahead of three days of temps in the teens and 20s that have already prompted a FIRST ALERT from the News 12 weather team.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said officials most fear power outages caused by wind, which could cut off heating to homes and some health care facilities. Officials warn wind could also delay reconnecting power.

“It may be very hard to get the crews to fix a downed power outage until it’s safe to do so,” Kemp said.

Stay up to date on winter weather by downloading the WRDW Weather App on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Kemp said he would declare a state of emergency, waiving daily limits on how long propane truck drivers can work. Propane heats both homes and chicken houses for Georgia’s nation-leading poultry industry.

State officials will open warming centers at 18 state parks. Many local governments are also opening warming centers.

James Stallings, director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, urged people to make preparations to survive for 72 hours without power. He urged people to wrap outdoor pipes, leave indoor faucets dripping and open cabinets under sinks to warm pipes. He also warned people not to use grills, camp stoves or generators indoors, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.


Officials encourage you to have three days-worth of essentials ready in case of a power outage coupled with frigid temperatures. Flashlights, batteries, medicine, first aid kits and water are among the things to gather now.

“In the event of power loss, make sure you’ve got some alternate heating sources available to you,” said Stallings.

He said, “Never use a generator, camp stove, charcoal or gas grill to heat your home.”

If you’re planning to travel for the holidays, officials encourage you to give a key or code to your house to your neighbor so someone can get inside your home incase of a burst water pipe.

Across the river

On Thursday, South Carolina’s governor urged residents to prepare for cold weather. The state is forecast to have its coldest Christmas since 1983. Temperatures are predicted to drop to dangerously cold levels over the holiday weekend.

Henry McMaster said, “A significant cold front will be moving into South Carolina starting Friday morning. Make sure you are prepared, check on your loved ones, and stay up to date by following @SCEMD and other official sources for best practices.”

Kim Stenson, South Carolina Emergency Management Division director, said: “Even though we’re not expecting really bad weather this weekend but cold weather, is to certainly be aware that that’s out there.”

Like Kemp, he temporarily waived some commercial transportation regulations to address potential winter weather conditions.

SCEMD says it’s not expecting a lot of power outages – but advises people should still be prepared for them anyway this time of year because of the cold.

Officials say winter weather emergency kits should include three days’ worth of food and water, warm clothes and blankets, a flashlight and batteries, and rock salt and a shovel for slippery surfaces outside.

“Also be aware of the fact pipes could freeze, and if you’ve got any uninsulated pipes, you should let your water drip, but insofar as possible, you should insulate them to make sure you don’t have a problem with that,” Stenson said.

SCEMD says whenever it’s cold, bring your outdoor pets inside and check on older friends, family and neighbors to see if they’re doing OK and staying warm.

“Right now, we’re not expecting any major weather problems, but it is going to be extremely cold for this time of year, and we’re encouraging everyone to be prepared for that cold weather,” Stenson said.

Emergency management officials say for a quick reminder list – remember to check on the three Ps – people, pets and pipes.