State EMA declares state of emergency

Staff Reports • Updated Jan 7, 2014 at 11:38 AM

The state Emergency Operations Center set its activation at state of emergency level 3 Sunday at 6 p.m. 

The latest updates from National Weather Service offices across Tennessee indicate:

• rain changing to snow with rapidly falling temperatures.

• 1 inch to 2 inches of snow are possible, with locally heavier amounts.

• flash freezing is possible, making roadways slick Sunday evening into Monday.

• bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills are expected Sunday night to Monday night, the coldest since 1994.

• temperatures will not get above freezing until Wednesday night.

• a wintry mix is possible Thursday morning, then showers and near normal temperatures into the weekend.

Travelling is discouraged given the potential for slick road conditions with possible flash freezing as temperatures fall rapidly. If travelling is absolutely necessary, call 511 for road conditions and be sure someone knows where you are going and when you arrive. If you are stranded, call *847 to be connected to the closest Tennessee Highway Patrol dispatch office to a location.

Other advised preparedness measures include:

• check your home emergency kit now to make sure you have extra blankets, warm clothing, heavy boots, flashlights, extra batteries and first-aid supplies.

• have sufficient heating fuel in case you become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources are cut off.

• store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.

• if the 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.

• if you do 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.

Pets and livestock measures include:

• bring pets and companion animals inside during winter weather. No pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.

• if you are unable to shelter inside during cold weather, provide your pet with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl.

• shelter livestock for extra protection against the cold, if possible. If a constructed shelter is not available, make use of natural areas of protection such as wooded lots and ravines. Livestock instinctively seek out these natural areas anyway so making feed and water available in these areas will help.

• enduring extremely cold temperatures requires extra energy, so most importantly; make sure livestock have access to plenty of fresh hay, feed and water. If utilizing surface water sources, periodically break ice on ponds, lakes and stream sides to ensure livestock have access to clean, fresh water.

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