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January 20, 2016

TEMA’s Winter Weather Update

TEMA remains at Level 4 – Elevated as we continue to receive information and updates from Local Emergency Managers and State Agency Personnel on the impacts from the first significant winter storm of the season, and as we being monitoring forecasts for the second winter weather system expected Thursday through the weekend.

1st Winter System Update
Freezing rain, sleet and snow caused mainly transportation problems in Tennessee during the first round of winter weather on Wednesday. The Tennessee Highway Patrol and Tennessee Department of Transportation are working to help motorists and clear roads with the impact of hazardous driving conditions on many Interstates and secondary highways in the State.

A number of school systems, county governments and health departments across Tennessee closed due to the snowfall, ice and cold temperatures. There are no reports of widespread power outages and significant infrastructure impacts in the State.

Motorists should still use caution if they must travel and allow extra time to reach destinations. The combination of snow and ice accumulations, and cold temperatures have made roadways slick. Any untreated roads will remain treacherous overnight as temperatures drop below freezing. A wintry mix of snow and ice is expected to continue across many parts of Tennessee.

2nd Winter System Forecast
TEMA continues to stay in close contact with National Weather Service offices in Memphis, Nashville, and Morristown, Tenn., and in Huntsville, Ala. and Jackson, Ky. as a significant winter storm is expected in the state on Thursday. Below is a region-by-region forecast.

West Tennessee
A significant winter storm is expected across the entire Mid-South Thursday night into Friday night. Heavy snow with significant accumulations are possible as snowfall rates of one-inch-per-hour is likely. The winter weather will begin impacting West Tennessee between 9 p.m., CST, Thursday and 3 a.m., CST Friday. Impacts: Roadways will be dangerous due to ice and snow; low visibility due to blow snow; power outages possible.

Middle Tennessee
The winter storm will impact Middle Tennessee Friday into Saturday morning. Snowfall amounts range from 1” to 5” in the region. A Winter Storm Watch is currently in effect until 12 p.m., CST, on Jan. 23. The heaviest snowfall is expected in northern Middle Tennessee, with up to 3” along the Kentucky border. Tennessee counties along the Alabama border may see 1” of snow. The Nashville area could see around 2” of snowfall.

East Tennessee
Icy conditions may develop across northeast Tennessee Thursday night, making travel on roads icy and slick. The National Weather Service will issue a Winter Storm Watch for Friday through Saturday for the area. Precipitation will change to all snow Friday with major, heavy snowfall possible at times, especially for the northern Plateau and eastern Tennessee mountains. Lighter snowfall expected in the lower elevations but there will be significant travel issues Friday night through Saturday.

Be Prepared for Cold Temperatures, Icy Conditions and Snow


• Be sure you have adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
• Have sufficient heating fuel for your home.
• Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
• Bring pets and companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
• If pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
• Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
• If you go outside, watch for signs of frostbite (loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities) and hypothermia (uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion).
• Seek warm shelter and medical treatment immediately for frostbite and hypothermia symptoms.


• Have a winter safety kit in your car with water, food, first aid supplies, blankets, gloves, heavy boots, food, flashlight, extra batteries, and warning lights or flares.
• Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
• Call *THP (*847) if you get stranded to be connected to the closest Tennessee Highway Patrol dispatch location.
• Call 511 for traffic information from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
• Monitor local radio and television broadcasts, and NOAA Weather Radio, for updates on weather forecasts and conditions.


• Listen to NOAA Weather Radio for winter weather watches and warnings.
• Monitor local radio and television stations for updates on weather and road conditions.
• Download the ReadyTN smartphone app to get weather, road conditions and emergency preparedness information on your smartphone.

TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders.