Middle Tennessee is bracing for the second winter storm in five days, and White County is making preparations.
The first storm, which came in on Jan. 2 and 3, brought between 2 and 4 inches of snow to the county, is being followed by another weather system, on Jan. 6, that is predicted to bring another several inches of snow to the area.
Residents are urged to take precautions to prepare for the storm, which is expected to bring snow throughout the day and into the early evening.
“Unless you absolutely have to go out, we are urging all residents to stay home,” White County Sheriff Steve Page said. “Roads will be hazardous throughout the day and into the night tonight.”
Page said that despite the best efforts of Tennessee Department of Transportation and the White County Highway Department, the amount of snow predicted to fall in the 12-hour period will make road conditions dangerous.
The White County Highway Department echoed Page’s advice, saying they have trucks in all areas of the county salting and pushing snow but that it is impossible for them to get all roads. They urged people to stay off of the roads for the next 24 hours while they work to clear what they can and hope that warming temperatures over the weekend will aid the roads that they don’t service.
Suzi Haston, White County E-911 director, said that if it was absolutely necessary to be on the roads, to drive with extreme caution and stated that if a driver were to see an accident with no one around, to call 911 and report the location.
“Also, please check on your elderly family and neighbors,” she said, stressing that making sure they were staying warm and had the essentials needed to stay well for a couple of days, if necessary, should be a priority. “If you, or a family member, is on oxygen, call your oxygen provider to be sure you have backup tanks to get through the weather emergency.”
Haston also asked that if a household were to lose power, that residents do not call 911, but instead call their utility company.
“We want to keep all departments working efficiently through this time, and we want to be sure we are getting the right help to the people in need,” Haston said. “Only the utility departments are equipped to handle power outages, so calling them directly is the best, and fastest, way to handle those issues.”
“Of course, if there is a medical emergency, a fire, an accident, please call 911 right away,” she clarified. “We will get the right emergency personnel to you as quickly as possible.”
Belva Bess, manager at Sparta Electric, said that crews are working as usual and are prepared to respond to calls for outages or other emergencies.
“If you have an outage, just call our number as usual,” Bess said, indicating that the calls will forward to radios that she and line crews are using to keep up with all of the calls. “We might not be able to respond to all of the messages, but we are getting all of them and are aware of the addresses and will work as quickly as possible to get power restored.”
Bess also urged residents to call the department’s phone number if they were to hear loud noises.
“If they call and report a loud boom, that helps us identify where the transformers have blown,” she explained. “It helps us get to the source of the outage quicker and ultimately get the power restored faster.”
Bess said that while Sparta Electric will work as quickly as possible to identify and restore power should any shortages occur, those with health concerns who have life support devices are encouraged to call an ambulance should they find themselves without power for any length of time.
“Residents who are on oxygen, should also check their back up tanks and be sure that they are full,” she said. “Preparing ahead of time can make a big difference.”
Jason Cloyd, manager of Sparta’s Caney Fork Electric Cooperative, urged residents to have any alternative sources of heat, such as kerosene heaters, wood stoves, or generators, in place. He also encouraged residents to call the Caney Fork Electric office and report outages as well as report any lines they may see on the ground or that have trees on them.
“We are prepared for the weather emergency and have crews ready to go out, but please be patient with us,” Cloyd said, adding that geographically, White County is large, and there are a lot of lines to monitor. “We will respond to each call as quickly as possible.”
Pertinent numbers to use in case of emergency:
Sparta Electric - (931) 738-2281
Caney Fork Electric - (931) 836-3129
E-911 Non-Emergency Number - (931) 738-7111
In the case of medical emergencies or vehicle accidents, call E911
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