Signs of a major winter storm started showing up as projected Sunday morning, with the Shelby Countians warned to be prepared for snow, sleet and freezing rain associated with a winter storm warning issued through midnight Tuesday.
With bitter cold temperatures in place, heavy precipitation spread into the region Sunday. A brief lull was forecast before a second round of heavier precipitation Monday evening.
Projections called for three to eight inches of snow. The entire Mid-South was put on alert for significant travel impacts and the potential for power outages.
“Driving conditions could be hazardous, mixed with dangerously low temperatures. We are urging citizens to limit travel if possible, but if you must travel, use extreme caution,” said Brenda Jones, Director of the Shelby County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.
Road crews from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the City of Memphis, and Shelby County deployed salt and sand trucks to treat roads before the precipitation moved in on Sunday.
“The Emergency Operations Center will be staffed in order to remain in contact with our local emergency services partners and public works coordinators throughout Shelby County,” Jones.
City of Memphis Warming Centers
• Warming Centers are open at the Hollywood Community Center at 1560 N Hollywood Ave and Ruth Tate Senior Center located at 1620 Marjorie Street
• Both locations are open 24 hours a day until further notice
• MATA is providing free transportation. Call (901) 636-2525 to request transportation assistance
Persistent frigid temperatures are forecast for much of the Mid-South through Thursday, with wind chill values dropping down to the single digits.
Plan ahead for driving on snow and ice
• Have a full tank of gas
• Check windshield wipers and the wiper fluid level
• Make sure defrosters are working
• Have de-ice spray for car windows, mirrors, headlights and taillights
If you MUST travel
• Keep headlights on (even during daylight hours)
• Drive slowly, especially when crossing bridges and overpasses
• Use lower gears to increase traction
• Do not use cruise control
• Leave two to three car lengths between you and other motorists
• If you skid, remove your foot from the accelerator
• Pump the brake pedal gently when you need to stop
• If you get stuck, clear the snow behind and in front of all four tires and spread sand or kitty litter in front of and behind the drive wheels
For your home
• Have multiple ways to receive alerts and information if you lose power
• Update any smartphone apps
• Be prepared to shelter-in-place
• Update your disaster kit to include additional non-perishable food and water for up to 7 days as well as extra blankets, coats, gloves, winter hats, and water-resistant boots
• Put a disaster supply kit in your vehicle that includes blankets
• Keep your pets safe – bring them inside
• Keep your cellphone charged and consider purchasing a solar power charger
• Open cabinet doors below sinks and let faucets drip if temperatures remain below freezing for a day or more
• Check on elderly family members, friends and neighbors during and after the storm
• Turn off your automatic sprinkler systems
• Have extra medication, oxygen or other medical supplies on hand