TEMA FLASH REPORT #1 February Ice Storm
- Heavy rainfall is turning to freezing rain as a winter weather system moves eastward in Tennessee.
- Already, ice accumulations have caused 141,650 power outages and travel conditions are hazardous in West Tennessee.
- The State Emergency Operations Center is activated in Nashville with personnel supporting response efforts and resource requests.
- Travel concerns and power outages from the winter weather system are likely to persist in Tennessee through Friday.
Tennessee is experiencing dual weather hazards today with a system that began with heavy rainfall, and a threat of flash flooding, slowly becoming a freezing rain event with the hazards of power outages and worsening travel conditions.
Heavy rainfall in Middle and East Tennessee is expected through tonight, with a potential for flash flooding and minor river flooding. Rainfall amounts of two inches to four inches are expected, particularly across southern Middle Tennessee and the Cumberland Plateau.
The rainfall has already transitioned to freezing rain for Tennessee’s counties along the Mississippi River and this changeover will continue as the winter front moves eastward into Middle Tennessee. Ice accumulations of 0.25 to 0.75 inches, possibly higher, are expected in West Tennessee with lower accumulations, though still hazardous, in Middle Tennessee.
An Ice Storm Warning in effect until midnight for most of West Tennessee. Ice Storm Warning also in effect until 1 a.m. Friday for counties in the northwest corner of Middle Tennessee, to include Houston, Humphreys, Montgomery, and Stewart.
As of 3 p.m. today, there are 141,650 power outages statewide, with 126,000 outages in Shelby County; 8,000 in Fayette; 2,200 in Tipton; 1,600 in Haywood; 1,300 in Henry; 1,000 in Gibson; and, 800 in Crockett.
Shelby County is reporting travel impacts with the changeover to freezing rain, and ice accumulations are beginning to topple trees and power lines.
Tipton County reports a one-third inch of ice accumulation already toppling trees and power lines.
Lauderdale County reports roads covered with sleet, causing multiple wrecks on roadways.
Houston County says bridges are starting to ice and a warming shelter is in place at Erin Elementary School, with the American Red Cross supporting.
Humphreys County has placed the Waverly Church of Christ and Wavery First Baptist Church on standby as warming shelters.
Weakley County has opened a shelter at the Dresden Adult Basic Education Center, located at 8250 TN Hwy. 22, in coordination with the American Red Cross.
At this time there are no reports of weather-related fatalities or injuries.
The State Emergency Operations Center in Nashville is activated to a Level 3 – State of Emergency with Emergency Service Coordinators from many State of Tennessee departments whose personnel are supporting local jurisdictions directly with the winter weather impact response.
Tennessee Emergency Management Agency staff will assist local officials with any life-safety needs and resource requests.
TEMA has opened its West and Middle Region Coordination Centers in Jackson and Nashville to monitor the weather situation closely at a local level and respond to any need requests from counties.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol and Tennessee Dept. of Transportation are monitoring roadways and working to keep interstates and state highways clear of wrecks and to assist motorists.
- Plan for hazardous travel conditions in West and Middle Tennessee into Friday as temperatures remain below freezing.
- Avoid unnecessary trips if possible. Do not try to drive through high water: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
- If you do travel, remember *THP (*847) for highway emergencies to be connected to the nearest Tennessee Highway Patrol district office to your location.
- Monitor weather forecasts and have multiple ways to receive weather information and warnings.
- Never operate an electric generator, gas grill, or charcoal grill inside your home or garage for heat or power. Fumes from these appliances are fatal and therefore, these applicants should be kept outside.
- Do not use your oven or stove as a heater.
- If you operate a space heater in your home, be sure to keep an area of 3 feet, at least, around the space heater clear to prevent fire hazards.
- Monitor local news for updates on weather forecasts, and for any weather watches or warnings issued for your area.
- Follow the instructions of emergency officials and be ready to take cover in any severe weather situation.
- Do not attempt to move any downed power lines. Instead contact your local power company to report the damage or call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency situation.
- Memphis: Ice Storm Warning in effect until midnight with a low of 24.
- Nashville: Ice Storm Warning, Flood Watch, and Winter Weather Advisory in effect with rain changing to ice tonight and a low of 29.
- Knoxville: Flood Watch in effect with heavy rain tonight and a low of 39.
- Chattanooga: Flood Watch in effect with heavy rain and a low of 43 tonight.