Mid-South braces for winter storm - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Mid-South braces for winter storm

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Dyersburg is expected to get hit hard with wintry weather. Dyersburg is expected to get hit hard with wintry weather.
Tennessee Department of Transportation is ready to go with salt and water, which makes a de-icer, better known as brine, to help keep you safe on the roads. Tennessee Department of Transportation is ready to go with salt and water, which makes a de-icer, better known as brine, to help keep you safe on the roads.
The Arkansas National Guard is ready to help residents as the winter weather moves into the state. The Arkansas National Guard is ready to help residents as the winter weather moves into the state.
Memphis Public Works crews are also ready with 4,000 tons of sand alone. Memphis Public Works crews are also ready with 4,000 tons of sand alone.
Dealing with parking at the grocery store appeared to be a hassle, but it was easier than getting caught unprepared. Dealing with parking at the grocery store appeared to be a hassle, but it was easier than getting caught unprepared.

(WMC-TV) - As winter storms move into West Tennessee, East Arkansas, and North Mississippi, emergency crews are ready and being proactive.

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TENNESSEE

A state of emergency was issued for Tennessee ahead of the winter storm expected to hit Friday.

Tennessee Department of Transportation is already on the roads with salt and water, which makes a de-icer better known as brine, intended to help keep you safe on the roads.

"It prevents the snow or ice from compacting to the pavement," said TDOT Assistant Superintendent Steve Lemmon. "We have 18 trucks that will be loaded with salt later."

Memphis Public Works crews are also ready with 4,000 tons of sand alone. They began laying the sand down on city streets Thursday at 11 p.m.

MLGW says it is ready, but is still asking customers to be prepared. The largest three-service utility in the country has a message for its 426,000 customers.

"We really need for them to call in at (901) 544-6500 to let us know if their services are out. Don't assume we know, because we may not know," said Gail Jones Carson with MLGW.

The utility company says all hands are on deck, prepared to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible. However, the company warns you not to use generators in your home should the electricity be off for a long time.

"Do not use them in your garages because that carbon monoxide is going to leak into your home, and it can be dangerous," said Carson.

Todd Hardberger traveled from Little Rock, Ark., to a Memphis Home Depot where he bought the last two generators in the store's district.

Home Depot manager, Reco Watson, said it was busy all day Thursday.

"Gas cans, flash lights are huge right now all those things are really going fast right now," said Watson.

Sand was all they had left in stock to substitute for the rock salt as shoppers grabbed the last of it. Home Depot said they do expect to get more generators and rock salt.

Dealing with parking at the grocery store appeared to be a hassle, but it was easier than getting caught unprepared.

"I was out a couple days ago. It wasn't as crowded as it is [Thursday]," said shopper Sharon Hayes. "You know it was hard to find a parking spot [Thursday]."

ARKANSAS

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe issued a disaster declaration ahead of the storm.

The threat triggered a statewide response. The Arkansas National Guard is ready to help residents as the winter weather moves into the state.

The 1123rd Transportation Company in West Memphis is also prepared.

"It's what we're here for," said Mike Adams, 1123rd Transportation Company. "We will get our information from our battalion as far as guidance and how much precipitation we will do."

Across the state, 54 national guardsmen are on orders, working 24 hour shifts at 12 locations. They are ready to respond to the storm.

"Part of their preparation is making sure this vehicle is ready and working, especially when the storm hits," said Adams. "We're really high on helping our Arkansans, so we take pride in being used this way. It's not only a privilege, it's an honor."

MISSISSIPPI

DeSoto County Schools are planning on a half day Friday, but crews will be out looking at the roadways in the morning to see if it is safe for school at all. Meanwhile, churches will have to wait a little while before making decisions about Sunday services.

Ahead of winter weather, superintendent Milton Kuykendall says road safety is the biggest factor in determining whether it is safe for school to be open, especially for teenagers driving themselves to school.

"It's a real hard decision on when to have school, when not to have school," he said. "They're inexperienced drivers, and I want to make sure we're not putting them in harm's way as well as our school buses."

Students were supposed to take state tests Friday, but those have been postponed.

When it comes to church services on Sunday, decisions on whether to have them will be made by each group at a later time.

"The decision won't be made until Sunday morning," said Alan Wilson with Longview Heights Baptist Church.

Wilson said if it is safe enough for worship on Sunday then he will have people scraping and de-icing sidewalks for the church's 2,500 members.

"If you can't get out of your driveway, if you can't get out of your subdivision, don't come. Stay safe. We want you to be safe when you come and when you go. So don't feel guilty if you cannot make it," said Wilson.

The church's Christmas musical is scheduled to be held Sunday night, but it could be postponed. Wilson says social media will help get the word out.

As temperatures continue to drop people's fears about the upcoming winter storm are growing

Sand is ready to go in DeSoto County as soon as ice or snow falls. Intersections and bridges are first priority. Now people are also preparing for the worst.

Wanda Hibbler works at Nesbit Market and noticed a busier crowd ahead of the winter weather. She remembers how bad the conditions were in 1994 during an ice storm.

"It was horrible. We had no heat, no lights, no nothing," she said.

When it gets below freezing, emergency officials want folks to know the dangers of having a generator or propane inside because of the carbon monoxide that can be let off.

"You've got the house buttoned up tight. The carbon monoxide is there in the house with you. It builds up. Carbon Monoxide does not have any odor or taste," said Tim Curtis with DeSoto County Emergency Management.

Officials are urging folks to stock up on whatever they need now so that roads can be kept clear Friday.


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