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January 22, 2016

TEMA’s 5 p.m., CST, update on Tennessee’s Winter Storm

Updates below on the winter weather situation in Tennessee with special emphasis on the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, a caution to limit travel in the State due to cold temperatures re-freezing roadways, and tips on winter weather preparedness. This will be our final update of the evening unless there are significant developments overnight. The SEOC will continue to be staffed overnight and on Saturday with TEMA personnel and State Agency partners. -Dean

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.

This is 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.


West – Winter Storm Warning in effect until 6 p.m., CST, with additional snow and sleet accumulations of less than one-inch. Locally-higher amounts are possible. Dangerous travel conditions are expected. Wind speeds could reach 20 to 25 m.p.h. bringing the threat of power outages and damage to property not secured.

Middle – Winter Storm Warning in effect for most of the region through Saturday morning. Snow continues though it should begin to taper off. A total of 6” to 10” of snow accumulation is possible across northern Middle Tennessee with 3” to 7” possible north of I-40 and east of I-65. In southern Middle Tennessee, snow totals of 1” and higher toward I-40 are possible. Area roadways will remain treacherous as temperatures remain below freezing.

East – A strong winter storm will impact the region this afternoon through Saturday morning with widespread, heavy, accumulating snowfall. Snow totals of 5” to 10” and above are possible along the Tennessee and Kentucky border. High winds in the region may create blizzard-like conditions. Travel is not advised as roadways will be hazardous.

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 2,300 people without power in Tennessee. Davidson County reports 1,400 outages, followed by Montgomery County with 500; Cheatham, 115; Fentress, 72; Sumner, 67; Shelby, 62; and, Pickett, 48.

Two warming shelters are open at Jellico High School and Caryville Elementary in Campbell County. One American Red Cross shelter is open in Montgomery County at the Seventh Day Adventist Church.


• Address life safety needs
• Support local government resource requests
• Assess and address roadway issues
• Monitor weather conditions
• Monitor for reports of stranded motorists

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 Department of Transportation is continuing ice and snow emergency response roadway activities statewide and is responding to local requests for assistance.

Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) has multiple teams on standby statewide to support feeding missions, chainsaw crews, transporting of patients, and other needs.

Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee Department of Human Services are staffing the SEOC to monitor human needs and health issues in the state from the severe winter weather.

The Tennessee Division of Forestry has debris chainsaw crews on standby.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has two staff at the SEOC monitoring statewide response to wrecks, noting particular traffic issues on Interstate 40 and Interstate 65.

The Tennessee Department of Military, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Tennessee State Parks have personnel and resources on standby to assist with motorist wellness checks, if they are needed.

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.


• 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.