After four nights of regulating nighttime drivers, Sumter County and the City of Sumter are lifting curfews that have been in place since Hurricane Matthew ripped through the area.
Despite the ever-increasing recovery from the storm and the easing of restrictions, local officials say they will continue to work until the county has completely restored power and roads.
Most schools in the Sumter School District returned to class on Wednesday, however, Manchester Elementary School in Pinewood remained closed as power had yet to be restored to the campus. School officials announced around 5 p.m. Wednesday that the school will remain closed at least one more day.
In fact, Pinewood remained one of the hardest hit areas of Sumter County five days after the first wave of winds and rain entered the area. As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, slightly less than 3,000 Duke Energy customers were still without power in Sumter County, including nearly 500 in the Pinewood area. With a population of around 600 people, that means a large number of the people living in the small community still remain in the dark.
A real-time outage map of Duke Energy customers can be found here.
In addition, Black River Electric Cooperative said Wednesday afternoon that they still had roughly 2,700 customers without power throughout their four-county service area, with most of those in either Sumter or Clarendon County.
And even though the curfew has been lifted, the Sumter Police Department said it plans to continue having an enhanced presence in the city throughout Wednesday with additional foot and car patrols in the city. “We’re going to keep doing it until we’re completely done (with the recovery),” said Tonyia McGirt, spokeswoman for the Sumter Police Department.
Nearly two dozen roads, primarily secondary roads in more rural parts of the county, remained blocked due to either downed power lines or trees. An updated list of these roads can be found here at the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s webpage dedicated to the Hurricane Matthew response.