Bitter Cold Settles Into Middle Tennessee

Bitter Cold Settles Into Middle Tennessee

CREATED Jan 24, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Bitterly cold temperatures have settled into the mid-state and will continue through the weekend.

Overnight lows dropped into single digits in some areas, with others near or at zero degrees. Daytime highs were not predicted to get out of the 20s on Friday.

NewsChannel 5 meteorologist Lelan Statom said there could be a few light snow showers Saturday morning, with highs finally warming above freezing Saturday afternoon. He added that highs will return to the 40s on Sunday, but more Arctic air arrives next week.

PICTURES: Wintry Weather - January 2014

TVA Meets Winter Peak Demand Record

The Tennessee Valley Authority said it met a record-breaking winter demand for electricity on Friday morning, one day after asking customers to reduce their power usage in an effort to deal with subfreezing temperatures.

The demand hit an estimated 33,345 megawatts when the average temperature across the region hovered at 7 degrees.

It was the TVA's highest demand for electricity since the summer of 2007 and third-highest in TVA history. The previous winter record was 32,572 megawatts set on January 16, 2009.

"For the second time this month, TVA sincerely thanks everyone across the seven-state TVA service area for conserving energy and helping us provide a safe, reliable flow of electricity during this latest cold wave," said Tim Ponseti, vice president of TVA Transmission Operations and Power Supply. "The effort made by our employees and customers during this round of bitterly cold weather exemplifies the teamwork and skill required to provide low-cost, reliable power."

The TVA said their public appeal to conserve energy has been lifted, but consumers are still encouraged to try to limit their consumption if possible, so no one sees an interruption in service.

The utility supplies power to about 9 million people in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

First Mobile Warming Stations Open In Nashville

Nashville's first mobile warming stations will offer temporary shelter from the bitter cold again on Friday night, Nashville's Office of Emergency Management announced.

School buses, provided by Metro Nashville Public Schools, will be open to the public for anyone who may need a break from the cold. They will be stationed at Riverfront Park and in the Farmers' market area from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m.

OEM has encouraged everyone to take shelter during this period of extreme cold weather. The bitterly cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia, resulting in serious injury or death.

OEM said efforts are being made to encourage and assist homeless individuals in seeking overnight shelter.

The Union Rescue Mission operates a mobile "Cold Patrol" which can seek out and transport homeless individuals to shelter. MNPD and Fire are directing officers/crews to be on the lookout for those exposed to elements and assisting with transport to shelters as well.

Anyone at-risk of exposure to the extreme cold in Davidson County, or anyone coming across a person outdoors who appears to be in distress or disoriented, is encouraged to call Metro's non-emergency number for assistance at (615) 862-8600.

Meanwhile, the non-profit Open Table Nashville has coordinated emergency shelters for folks who need to stay warm.

Open table recruits places to open their doors every time the temperature gets below 25 degrees. The locations are different every night depending on what churches and buildings are available.

On Tuesday night, about 60 people got a warm meal and stayed at First Church of the Nazarene.

Last year, Open Table Nashville operated emergency shelters a total of 14 nights.  Since November of 2013, volunteers have already opened shelters 30 nights.

For more information, go to ww.opentablenashville.org.

State Of Emergency Declared

Governor Bill Haslam declared a state of emergency Tuesday in order to lift restrictions on the transportation of propane in Tennessee as subfreezing temperatures hit the state.

Normally, drivers transporting hazardous materials like propane are limited in the number of hours they are allowed to work at a stretch. The state of emergency will allow drivers to work longer hours in the hopes of ensuring propane delivery to homes and businesses during the cold spell.

On Thursday, Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak issued an order to exempt Tennessee home and business owners from propane delivery restrictions in order to obtain needed propane. 

"Heating homes and businesses is a priority during this cold weather snap," said McPeak. "This order allows individuals to purchase propane from any dealer with available resources to help keep Tennesseans warm and in business while we manage these frigid temperatures."

The Department of Commerce and Insurance is waiving the requirement that only the propane container dealer/owners can fill their containers. This order allows dealers of propane to fill or refill a container belonging to another dealer for the duration of the State of Emergency. 

The Tennessee departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Insurance, Environment and Conservation, Safety, Transportation, and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency are coordinating with each other to enact the order.

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)