Area governments gearing up for winter weather - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Area governments gearing up for winter weather

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(WMC-TV) In addition to roadways, the effects the storm could have on power lines is also a major concern. Mid-South governments are prepping for every scenario.

"It looks like we're looking at the entire gambit of sleet, freezing rain, and snow," said James Medling, Dyer County Emergency Management Agencies Director.

Dyer County, Tennessee is coordinating with electric companies and road crews, and EMA is coordinating with The Red Cross.

"We have preparations to open shelters if the need arises," said Medling.

In Mississippi County, Arkansas, electric companies are bringing in contractors ahead of the storm.

"Our utilities are probably our biggest worry right now," said Mississippi County, Ark. EMA Coordinator, Joseph Richmond.

The worst case scenario: Ice accumulation.That can down trees and snap power lines. Plus, the nature of this storm makes it hard to treat roads.

"Anything that they could put down to pre-treat the roads is going to be washed off by rain, but they will have crews out, if it starts freezing on the highways bridges and overpasses," said Richmond.

If the roads do get icy, the Mississippi Department of Transportation has this warning:

"We want to encourage motorists to not travel if you don't have to," added Kenny Foote, MDOT Public Information Officer.

Emergency officials say the best case scenarios are if the rain quickly switches sleet to stave off an ice storm, or if the front breaks up or pushes north as it crosses the river.

"We're willing to take the criticism if we do all these preparations and it turns into being a non-event.  We'd rather be in that position than to do nothing and for it to materialize as forecast," noted Shelby County EMA Director Bob Nations.

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