TEMA declares winter weather emergency

News release from Tennessee Emergency Management Agency
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) activated the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan today, Jan. 21, 2016, and declared a Level III – State of Emergency, as of 3 p.m., CST, due to weather forecasts of a major winter weather system that will move into West Tennessee, late this evening and overnight, and gradually cross the entire State through Saturday. TEMA made the recommendation for a State of Emergency to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam this afternoon.

The second winter weather system of the year is bringing with it threats of freezing rain, sleet, snow and high winds, which may create blizzard-like conditions in some areas.

The possible, critical impacts from this weather system may lead to stranded motorists, power outages, and people needing shelter.

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Nashville will have key, TEMA staff and State Agency partners monitoring the situation, to include the Tennessee Departments of Health, Human Services, Military, and Transportation, and Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Additionally, TEMA has made contact with resources that may be needed with the potential for treacherous road conditions, including the American Red Cross, Tennessee State Parks, Tennessee Division of Forestry, and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

TEMA’s regional offices in Jackson, Nashville and Knoxville are making staffing preparations for their Regional Coordination Centers (RCCs) that will include State Agency partners.

When activated the RCCs will be a point of contact to assist counties with any needs they report and to gather situational information for any response coordination. Each RCC is checking inventory of blankets, heater meals and water to fulfill any requests from counties or State Agencies for these resources.

The American Red Cross is currently putting shelter staff and volunteers on alert and is placing key shelter locations along Interstates on standby.

REGION-BY-REGION TIMING & FORECASTS
West

Timing: Early Friday morning expect snowfall in the northern part of the West Region with rain in the south. From Friday through Saturday, expect a rain and snow mix. The wintry mix should taper off beginning Saturday morning.

Temps: High 37, Low 13

Totals: 3” to 5” of snow possible with locally higher amounts possible, especially along the Ky. border

Middle

Timing: Snow falling around 6 a.m., CST, Friday in the northwest corner of Middle Tennessee, impacting Clarksville and Dover with rain along the Alabama border. Expect snow falling around 4 p.m., CST, on Friday and through the evening and overnight before tapering off Saturday.

Temps: High 41, Low 17

Totals: 1” to 3” of snow possible, possibly 3” to 6” of snow accumulation along the Ky. border

East

Timing: Freezing rain possible tonight in the northwest part of the East Tennessee region, with snowfall moving into the area Friday evening. Friday night, the East Tennessee region can expect snowfall in the north part of the area, with rain falling south in the region.

Temps: 42 High, 18 Low

Totals: Snow accumulation totals vary from 1” to 3” in the Chattanooga area with predictions of 8” to 12” in the Tri-Cities area, and possibly higher amounts in the upper elevations of the Tennessee mountains.

This is a very unpredictable weather system and the timing and precipitation amounts could change. Be prepared for changing weather and road conditions by monitoring local weather forecasts closely.