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The Latest: No deaths reported in South Carolina snowstorm

January 3, 2018

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on snow, sleet and freezing rain in eastern South Carolina (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith says South Carolina has not seen any deaths in this winter storm.

The National Weather Service says up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow fell north of Charleston in Summerville as a powerful storm moved off the coast.

Widespread reports of 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of snow came from Bluffton in far southern South Carolina all the way through Orangeburg and Charleston. Similar amounts were forecast around Myrtle Beach.

Gov. Henry McMaster is asking anyone with snow on the ground to stay home to keep first responders safe.

Forecasters warn lows across the state will be well below freezing, leaving dangerous road conditions in the morning.

A number of school districts are closed Thursday.

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4:10 p.m.

Officials say parts of coastal South Carolina have seen one of their top five snowfalls since records have been kept.

The National Weather Service reports 3 inches (8 centimeters) of snow fell through about 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Charleston International Airport. That is the fifth heaviest snow at that site since 1938.

Bluffton in far southern South Carolina reported 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow as a powerful storm moved up the coast in the Atlantic Ocean.

Road problems from the snow and ice were spreading. Interstate 95 was nearly at a standstill from the Georgia state line to Florence. Interstate 26 was barely moving from I-95 to Charleston.

So far, utilities have reported fewer than 10,000 power outages in the storm.

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2:30 p.m.

The freezing rain has changed to snow across almost the entire South Carolina coast.

Snow was falling almost right up to the beach sand Wednesday afternoon. North Charleston and Summerville had already picked up 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow.

Snow was even falling on Hilton Head Island, coating the grass in front of the Harbour Town lighthouse .

The snow and ice has snarled traffic. Interstate 95 is jammed for 70 miles from the Georgia state line north. Traffic on almost every major highway in Charleston is crawling as bridges close and troopers were starting to report problems on bridges in Horry County.

So far less than 10,000 power outages have been reported from the storm across the state.

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11:10 a.m.

The snow and ice moving into South Carolina has prompted officials to close Charleston International Airport.

The airport said in a twitter message that Joint Base Charleston has closed the runways because of ice. The airport shares runways with the U.S. Air Force at the North Charleston facility.

The airport said flight operations would not resume until the Air Force determines the runways are safe for aircraft and passengers.

Snow and ice is expected over the eastern half of South Carolina Wednesday as a storm moves up the East Coast.

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10:55 a.m.

Forecasters say snow could extend even father west that originally thought from a storm moving off the South Carolina coast.

The National Weather Service has extended a winter weather advisory for Wednesday afternoon and evening into Columbia and forecasters say the evening commute could be horrible.

Forecasters say a band of heavy snow could briefly move through the area, dropping no more than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of snow. But that snow could quickly stick to very cold roads, creating a mess.

The freezing rain has already started along the coast. Nearly a dozen bridges have been closed in Beaufort and Charleston counties, with the worst of the weather still to come.

Traffic on almost every major route in and around Charleston has been slowed to a crawl and the Highway Patrol is responding to dozens of wrecks.

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7:50 a.m.

A mixture of snow and freezing rain is expected in South Carolina.

Radar indicated sleet and freezing rain was moving into the state south of Charleston on Wednesday morning..

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for 14 counties in the eastern part of the state. A winter weather advisory is in effect in six counties across the middle of the state.

Forecasters say snowfall could range from about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in the central part of the state to 4 inches (10 centimeters) south of Charleston.

Local government offices along the coast and some schools are closed as well. Some schools in the Midlands were opening late because of the cold temperatures.

Transportation Department workers have been pretreating roads in central and eastern South Carolina.

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