Weather makes heaters hot item at Sumter County stores

Portable units, piping materials big sellers at hardware stores

By BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 1/5/18

With unseasonably low temperatures at night in the tri-county region since Monday, residents have been buying up portable space heaters and pipe fittings and related parts for burst pipes, according to local hardware stores.

Staff at Lowe's, …

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Weather makes heaters hot item at Sumter County stores

Portable units, piping materials big sellers at hardware stores

After his pipes burst at home Wednesday night, Sumter resident Freddie Mobley looks at pipe fittings Thursday at Simpson Ace Hardware, 32 W. Liberty St.
After his pipes burst at home Wednesday night, Sumter resident Freddie Mobley looks at pipe fittings Thursday at Simpson Ace Hardware, 32 W. Liberty St.
BRUCE MILLS / THE SUMTER ITEM
Posted

With unseasonably low temperatures at night in the tri-county region since Monday, residents have been buying up portable space heaters and pipe fittings and related parts for burst pipes, according to local hardware stores.

Staff at Lowe's, Tractor Supply and Simpson Hardware & Sports said Thursday that space heaters have been big sellers all week. Simpson was the only one that reported Thursday afternoon to still have an assortment of heaters on hand.

After Wednesday's snowstorm dropped 4 to 6 inches of snow throughout Sumter County and about 3 inches in Clarendon and Lee counties, utility providers only reported a limited number of home power outages in the tri-county region.

Duke Energy spokesman Ryan Mosier said the provider only had a handful of reported outages associated with the cold and snowstorm on Wednesday night in the three counties. Black River Electric Coop. representative James Moye said the co-op had about 95 home outages in the area, but everyone had their power back on by 5 a.m. Thursday.

The stretch of cold nights seem to be causing more problems than Wednesday's snowfall.

According to National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Rohrbach, based in Columbia, Sumter County is in the midst of one of its longest stretches of nights under 20 degrees on record.

Tonight's low for Sumter is forecast to be 17 degrees, and Saturday's low is expected to be 15, according to the National Weather Service. If those forecasts hold true, that would be six consecutive nights under 20 degrees for Sumter, dating back to Monday night.

According to Rohrbach, it would be only the third time since 1901 that has occurred in Sumter. The last time the county had six straight nights under 20 was Jan. 3-8, 2010, and before that it only occurred one time on record - in December 1935.

At Simpson's Liberty Street location, sales representative Mike Brown said in recent days residents have been coming in to buy glue, pipe, insulation, faucet covers, propane and portable heaters.

"A lot of people have come in for pipe and foam insulation to wrap the pipes afterwards for busted pipes," Brown said.

Brown encouraged residents to drip their faucets at night to prevent them from freezing in many instances.