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Mayor Dean Urges Residents to Protect Themselves from the Cold

2/18/2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mayor Karl Dean on Wednesday warned residents to avoid or limit outside activity due to dangerously cold temperatures.

Please be careful and use your discretion before you or your children spend much time outdoors. It’s just not safe to be outside for any length of time in this kind of weather,” Mayor Dean said from the Emergency Operations Center. “And we’re expecting to have more wintry precipitation Friday and early Saturday before temperatures pick up a bit.”

With most of the main hazards of snow and ice behind, Metro’s focus is shifting to extremely dangerous cold expected over the next two days. Temperatures are expected to drop below zero, posing significant threats to people and pets. Any exposure to the cold should be avoided and time spent outdoors should be limited.

Forecast

The current forecast from the National Weather Service still calls for record-low temperatures in the next few days. Temperatures could drop as low as -3 degrees Wednesday night, -12 degrees with wind chill factored in. Such low temperatures pose serious threat to the health of people and pets.

Cold temperatures could also refreeze roads and bring the potential for dangerous black ice.

A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect until noon Thursday.

Temperatures on Thursday aren’t expected to rise above 18 degrees, with even colder lows.

Any time spent outdoors should be avoided or limited.

In addition, forecasters are warning that snow, sleet and freezing rain is likely to fall Friday, possibly intensifying during rush hours. This along with cold weather could continue to be hazardous for drivers and those who have to spend outdoors.

A Winter Storm Watch will be in effect from noon Friday until noon Saturday.

Stay Warm Safely

In addition to avoiding time spent outside, residents should take precautions to safely stay warm while at home by using the following tips:

• Keep anything that could catch fire at least 3 feet away from any heat source

• Never use an oven to heat a home

• Turn off space heaters when leaving a room or going to bed

• Have your chimneys cleaned and inspected yearly

• Burn only dry, seasoned wood in fireplaces and wood stoves; Never use flammable liquid to start a fire

• Make sure you have working smoke alarms; test them out every month

• Have warm blankets and flashlights ready in the event of a power outage

Warm Daytime Activities

Metro continues to invite families looking for things to do or people just needing a warm place to city service facilities such as the Nashville Public Library’s main library downtown and its branches around the city.

Other places to warm up during the daytime include Metro Parks’ regional community centers, which will be open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday, and the Nashville Farmers’ Market, which will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., with limited vendors.

These locations can be helpful for warmth and family activities during daytime hours, but please only go to these facilities if you can get there safely by driving, walking or using mass transit.

Cold/Snow Patrols

Metro Police and the Office of Emergency Management have stepped up Cold Patrols, helping anyone in need find shelter from the cold through Friday. Metro Police will be dedicating an extra Flex Team devoted solely to Cold Patrols in the city’s downtown core.

The city has been working with Nashville Rescue Mission, Room In The Inn and other community partners to make sure our homeless citizens won’t have to face the brutal cold outdoors all night. If anyone sees a homeless person in need of help, call the non-emergency number of Metro Police at (615) 862-8600.

The city opened a backup shelter for homeless at the Nashville Fairgrounds’ Vaughn building which will be available again tonight. The building has 75 beds, but has a capacity of 250 people, if necessary. The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office is providing around-the-clock security to the building while it is in use.

In all, the city and its nonprofit partners have increased capacity by 146 beds for tonight.

In addition, OEM continues snow patrols during the day looking to assist stranded motorists or pedestrians.

Power

Nashville Electric Service continues to quickly respond to sporadic outages. They have restored power to thousands of homes over the past few days. As of 4:30 p.m., NES crews were working to restore power to 160 homes.

Outages remain a concern for the city because of thick ice and the continued danger of falling tree limbs. High winds could further pose a risk to tree limbs and power lines.

If you suffer an outage, please report it to NES as soon as possible by calling (615) 234-0000. If you are in distress because of an outage, call our Community Hotline at (615) 862-8750.

Residents who come in contact with live, downed power lines should not approach them. Instead call 9-1-1 immediately.

In addition to weather-related outages, the Tennessee Valley Authority is expecting exceptionally high energy loads as temperatures drop among the seven states it serves. Power usage could approach or exceed record levels.

While widespread outages are not anticipated, NES and TVA are asking that residents take modest steps to conserve energy during peak times starting tonight and through Friday. Peak times are from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and then from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

During those times, they recommend turning heat down to 68 degrees at the highest and avoid using major appliances, unless necessary. They also suggest closing blinds during the night or overcast skies and making sure your home is properly weatherized.

NES has a list of winter weather efficiency tips here: http://www.nespowernews.com/winterweathertips/

Water

Metro Water Services is gearing up for extremely cold weather, which is likely to pose a threat to water pipes. The next two days, in particular, pose an unusually high risk to pipes.

Extra crews are scheduled to be on hand over the weekend. Metro Water urges residents to take precautions to prevent freezing and broken pipes.

Residents should locate their home’s water shutoff valves, in case an emergency arises. Leave a pencil-lead-thin stream of water running on any faucets on an exterior wall, and the faucet that is furthest from where your home gets its supply. More tips to protect your home can be found here: http://www.nashville.gov/Portals/0/SiteContent/WaterServices/docs/education/WinterWeatherPrep.pdf

For water emergencies, call Metro Water’s 24-hour emergency hotline at (615) 862-4600.

Roads

Metro Public Works has treated all primary and secondary roads as of today, making them largely passable. Crews also began taking to some neighborhood streets.

However, the impending cold weather could lead roads to refreeze and the effectiveness of salt to melt ice is greatly diminished below 20 degrees. Road conditions could quickly worsen in the event of a refreeze, potentially make driving dangerous.

Residents should take stock again Thursday morning of their personal safety and the conditions of the roads where they live and to check local media reports for weather and road updates. Those who must travel are urged to take extra time and proceed with extreme caution as overnight cold temperatures could lead to refreezing.

And employers should continue to consider allowing employees delayed or flexible start and stop times, to alleviate rush hour traffic.

For more information on Metro Public Works’ winter preparedness operations and for winter weather driving tips, visit:  http://www.nashville.gov/Public-Works/Getting-Around-Nashville/Snow.aspx.

Public Works’ hotline for emergency road needs is (615) 862-8750.

Transit

The Metro Transit Authority will run full snow routes until further notice. Customers eligible

for MTA’s AccessRide vans may begin rescheduling or booking new reservations for medical trips such as dialysis by calling Customer Care at (615) 862-5950.

Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee (RTA) Rutherford County routes operated by the Nashville MTA are also running on snow routes. RTA’s Gray Line is not operating.

The Music City Star will operate normally Thursday.

More information, including any updates to route openings and closures, can be found at their website, http://www.nashvillemta.org and on social media.

Fire/Police

The Nashville Fire Department urges residents and visitors to take extra precautions while walking. The department has been responding to large numbers of slip-and-fall emergencies.

Firefighters and paramedics are also seeing an increasing number of breathing problem calls. Low temperatures can easily exacerbate people with breathing or respiratory conditions, like COPD. The department recommends that anyone with such a condition avoid or limit time spent outdoors, particularly as the region gets colder.

Metro Police continue to deal with crashes around the city, but call volume remains manageable. Officers on cold patrols have made contact with 537 people since Saturday, transporting 144 to safety.

Traffic crashes decreased significantly Wednesday due to improved road conditions. Police responded to 79 non-injury crashes and six injury crashes from 3 a.m.-3 p.m.

Court Services Resume Operations

In general, Metro government is expected to be open fully for business Thursday, which includes state trial courts and General Sessions Court resuming full operations.

Continue to check on Neighbors, Pets

Nashville has always been a community of connected neighbors and the upcoming cold temperatures will make that even more critical.

We ask residents to continue checking on neighbors who are homebound or have special needs this week – particularly those who depend on food delivery or need prescription medicine.

All pets should be brought indoors if possible. Pets that must remain outdoors should have proper shelter, food and water.

Metro's Community Hotline will continue to be staffed 24 hours a day and can be reached at (615) 862-8750 for all non-emergency, weather-related inquiries, the reporting of hazards and to request assistance. In case of an emergency, residents should call 9-1-1.

Agencies initially activated at the EOC including the following: Metro Office of Emergency Management, Metro Police, Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, Nashville Fire & EMS, Metro Public Works, Metro Water Services, Nashville Emergency Communications, Metro Information Technology, Metro Planning/GIS, Nashville Electric Service and Metro Transit Authority.

Metro’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) remains in a partial activation and will likely remain that way through Saturday. OEM continues to coordinate Metro departments in real time to keep the community safe during the winter storm.

The NERVE (Nashville Emergency Response Viewing Engine) has been activated in coordination with this EOC activation. This new site will provide information about storm related road closures, any evacuation areas or routes, shelters and relief centers. This also includes a media tab with a Twitter feed and press releases. http://nerve.nashville.gov.

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