Tennessee remains at a Level III – State of Emergency, declared at 3 p.m., CST, on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, as a major winter weather system continues its trek across Tennessee.
A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for the entire State as heavy snow continues to fall in West and Middle Tennessee, and approaches East Tennessee.
The snow arrived earlier than expected in Middle Tennessee which has made for very treacherous driving conditions. Middle Tennessee counties, especially north of I-40 are reporting snow totals of 6” and higher. West Tennessee has seen its snowfall being to taper off with accumulations of 4” and higher. East Tennessee will see a snow rain mix this afternoon before changing to all snow tonight. Parts of East Tennessee may see blizzard-like conditions, especially in the higher elevations and closer to the Virginia border.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam closed State offices Friday due to the winter weather situation. A number of county governments, public and private school systems, and universities are also closed.
This is still a very dangerous winter system that has made, and will continue to make, driving on Tennessee roadways treacherous.
Travel should be avoided or limited, especially as the temperatures drop this afternoon and overnight.
FATALITIES & INJURIES
There are no confirmed reports of fatalities or injuries for this current State of Emergency. The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed two fatalities during Wednesday’s winter weather of a 19-year-old male in Knox County, and a female of unknown age in Carter County. Both fatalities were the result of motor vehicle accidents.
There are reports of around 2,200 people without power in Tennessee. Davidson County has the highest currently with 1,200 outages reported, followed by Montgomery County with 700 and Shelby County with 300.
On Thursday, the American Red Cross placed a number of shelters on standby along Interstates to assist with any stranded motorist needs. Currently the Red Cross is not reporting any shelter occupants. Many local governments have also opened shelters and warming centers. Information about county winter weather response or shelter operations should be directed to the specific county Emergency Management Agency.
The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Nashville is currently operating in 24-hour rotational shifts with personnel from a number of State Agency partners.
TEMA’s Regional Offices in Jackson, Nashville and Knoxville are staffed and engaged in gathering information from counties and working with State Agencies in their regions for situational awareness and response coordination.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol and Tennessee Department of Transportation are working to clear wrecks and remove snow and slush from State highways and Interstates.
The Tennessee Department of Military and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency have personnel and resources on standby to assist with motorist wellness checks, if they are needed.
The Tennessee Division of Forestry and Tennessee State Parks also have staff at the SEOC to help with response coordination.
County assistance requests coming in to the SEOC and Regional Offices have included needs for salt trucks, meals and tree removal, primarily.
• 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.
• Keep generators away from windows and doors, and out of garages.
• Do not bring propane gas or charcoal grills indoors, even into a garage, for cooking or heating.
• 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.
• Don’t venture outdoors in slippery cold conditions without warm clothing, even for just a minute. A fall and prolonged exposure to cold can put your life in danger.
ON THE ROAD
• 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.
• Keep your gas tank at least half-full in threatening weather.
• Charge your cell phone before and while travelling.
• Dress for the weather and not the car ride, keep winter apparel and boots in your vehicle.
• 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.