State of Tennessee Stands Up for Flooding, Severe Weather Response with State of Emergency in Place
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is asking Tennesseans today to follow the instructions of emergency officials and stay on alert due to rising flood waters and the potential for more severe weather this afternoon.
“Our departments and agencies are monitoring the ongoing weather developments in our state and they are coordinating to be fully prepared,” Lee said.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) is working with state and local officials through the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Nashville to monitor the weather situation, stay in contact with key information sources such as the National Weather Service (NWS), and U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers (USACE), and address any local need requests.
In response to the flooding and severe weather potential, this afternoon TEMA activated the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan and put a State of Emergency in Place in Tennessee.
Governor Lee was attending meetings in Washington, DC this weekend connected with the National Governor’s Association, and he is cutting his trip short and coming home this afternoon to better monitor the situation.
Besides TEMA staff, SEOC personnel include Emergency Service Coordinators from the Tennessee departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Insurance, Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Health, Human Services, Military, Safety, and Transportation, along with representatives from the American Red Cross and State Fire Marshall’s Office.
“Everyone should pay close attention to weather forecasts today and have multiple ways to receive weather watches and warnings,” said TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan. “Those who may have experienced any storm or flooding damage already should contact their county emergency management agencies to report issues, contact their insurance agencies, and keep track of any repairs they make.”
Other flooding response preparations are being made, including:
• The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is coordinating among state, local, and industry resources to identify immediate emergency agricultural and livestock needs and will work with the USDA to assess farm damages in the coming weeks.
• The Tennessee National Guard has readied aviation and boat resources for response and has sandbagging equipment and troops and airmen available to help if needed.
• The Fire Marshall’s Office and the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Mutual Aid System are coordinating potential mutual aid requests and readying swift-water rescue teams for potential deployment.
• TDEC is communicating with water and wastewater systems to ensure infrastructure is not impacted or damaged.
• USACE and the Tennessee Valley Authority are communicating the status of their dam projects and storage and flows along the rivers and tributaries to TEMA, and USACE Nashville has activated their flood monitoring unit and is actively working to ensure the best balance for safeguarding infrastructure, property and materials.
A cold front is already making its way through west Tennessee today and will bring with it the chance for thunderstorms, damaging winds, and the possibility of tornadoes. Flooding will continue to pose a threat as Flood Warnings remain in place across Tennessee through the weekend. An additional concern will be the toppling of trees due to wind and saturated soil.
About the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency: 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. Follow TEMA on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and, at www.tn.gov/tema.
About ReadyTN: ReadyTN is a mobile device application from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) providing emergency preparedness, response, and recovery information to Tennesseans. Ready TN is available for mobile devices running Apple and Android operating systems. For more information on ReadyTN’s features and on downloading, visit www.tn.gov/tema/ready-tn.html.