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Ice Storm ’14 slams the Mid-South

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Ice Storm Damage 3 Ice Storm Frayser Damage 2 Ice Storm Millington Ice Storm salt truck

After nearly picture-perfect Saturday with temperatures in the mid 60s, the Mid-South braced for a winter storm.
And Sunday the weather delivered with heavy rains, thunderstorms and then sleet. Before the night was over, the percepitation transformed into ice and snow. The worst damage hit Tipton County and Northwest Shelby County.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, Jr., has declared a State of Emergency due to anticipated icing conditions on Sunday night. The Shelby County Office of Preparedness went to a Level 4 Activation this evening which summoned representatives of various law enforcement, fire, emergency services and support bureaus to the Shelby County Emergency Operations Center in east Memphis.
“Personnel from these agencies will be working around the clock,” Luttrell said. “Besides overtime expenses, additional resources could also be needed which led to my declaring a State of Emergency. Earlier tonight, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam also declared a State of Emergency based on weather conditions in various parts of Tennessee.
“Ice on roads could make for very dangerous driving conditions tonight and during rush-hour tomorrow,” said Bob Nations, Jr., Director of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness. “Citizens are urged not to drive unless absolutely necessary.  Additionally, ice could form on tree limbs and utility lines which could lead to power outages.  We’ll be tracking issues as they arise to ensure they’re quickly addressed.”
Public Works crews are ready to spread a mixture of salt and cinders on the streets, especially on bridges and overpasses. Despite the preparations, the ice storm closed schools and businesses. The weather also forced work crews to help restore power and fix roads. There were 39 downed trees, 28 downed power lines, 24 major icy roads, 13 flooded roads, five traffic crashes under investigation all non-critical and 2 roads closed—Canada Road, south of Memphis Arlington and Garnett, between Woodstock-Cuba and Independence on Monday.
Since noon on Sunday, MLGW crews have restored power to more than 45,000 customers. Close to 17,000 customers are still without electricity. MLGW crews will continue to work into the night to restore power to customers. MLGW is estimating it may take several days to have power restored to all customers. Downed trees weighed with ice and power lines are the primary cause of these outages; damage is spread across Shelby County with more damage occurring north of I-40, in the Raleigh/Frayser and Shelby Forrest areas.

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