Snow storm cripples trash pickup in Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Light, Gas and Water officials said their emergency phone number is operational once again.

The number went down briefly Tuesday while Memphians dealt with the second winter storm of the season.

The storm dropped as much as six inches of snow in parts of the Mid-South. That snow blanketed roads, causing significant driving problems.

What's up with the trash pickup delay in Memphis? 

Call it the perfect storm. Snow and ice paired with the MLK holiday has piles of trash looking like snowy mountain tops along city streets.

"I have two trash cans, most people only have one," said Midtown resident Russ Young. "I have two. Both of those are full and I have a bin on top of that, a plastic tub, that's full and I am piling stuff on top of that. So, I am not going to get stuff picked up until Saturday I am going to start having to put it in the back of my truck."

Bags of leaves have been stacked waist-high in front of Young's home since December 28.

The City of Memphis said icy roads and the holiday put things on hold.

Right now, neighborhood roads are too dangerous, the city said, since its truck aren't equipped with tire chains.

City officials were not available for an interview, but pointed us to a pre-produced video posted on the city's Twitter page on Tuesday.

"We've had a real tough week with this back-to-back inclement weather and the holiday, so what we are going to have to do this week is focus on getting garbage carts," said Public Works Director Robert Knecht. "Everything else is going to have to be held off until next week."

That wasn't the case in Germantown and Collierville. Sanitation crews in Collierville were out Tuesday picking up the trash. In Germantown, crews worked on Monday as a make-up day from Friday's snow day.

Road crews prep for winter weather 

Meanwhile, road crews said Tuesday's snow did not cause the same amount of chaos as Friday's storm. Tennessee Department of Transportation said it only responded to two or three accidents on Tuesday; a far cry from the 300 reported Friday.

TDOT was able to pretreat the roadways with salt brine--something that was impossible Friday because rain fell before the snow.

"It didn't rain, so that helped us out a whole lot, because if you put the brine down it washes away," TDOT Supervisor Deadrick Wright said.

Memphis crews said they weren't even able to use snow plows Friday because a slick layer of ice on the roads made plowing dangerous. That was not the case Tuesday; city crews plowed through high-traffic areas in order to keep them as safe as possible for drivers.

After a busy day of keeping Mid-South drivers safe, TDOT workers said their job is far from over. They're now monitoring the roads to see if they refreeze overnight.

The Memphis metro area wasn't the only place to see white roads from the snow.

Areas north of the metro saw several inches of snow, just hours after getting roads cleared from Friday's storm.

"We've been hit with a double whammy," Covington Mayor Justin Hanson said. "It's the side roads and the back roads that are the problem, because a lot of them don't get a lot of traffic; they don't get a lot of sunshine if it's shaded."

Hanson said crews are working as hard as they can, but the subfreezing temperatures make it difficult to clear the roads.

"It's been so cold that this stuff is not going to melt, and that's the concern," Hanson said.

Meanwhile, Covington Police Chief Buddy Lewis encouraged residents to check on older neighbors, and he said if you can't, the department will--just let them know.

"We will be more than happy to go check on those people and make sure they are safe," Lewis said.

Roads were covered in north Mississippi, too.

"We found when the snow is providing some traction, when we had plowed it off it made the road a little bit slicker," said Andy Swims with DeSoto County Road Management.

The snow they plowed was freezing back over. Now, they're hoping the sunshine later Tuesday gives them the opportunity to make some progress.

"We're just holding off a little bit," Swims said. "We don't want to make conditions worse for drivers, we want to make them better."

Staying open on a snow day 

Because of these frigid conditions many school districts and businesses are closed, but not Hollywood Furniture and Hardware. it'll stay open as long as the community needs them.

Bart Garey and his family have run Hollywood Furniture and Hardware on the corner of Chelsea and Hollywood for more than 90 years.

"We are part of the community and we gotta take care of our community because it's kept us here all these years," Garey said.

With temperatures staying below freezing, what his customers need are heaters

But with the snow turning to ice, what people are really looking for is an ice melter, which has been flying off the shelves

"If you put the ice melter down now it'll keep it from freezing overnight tonight," Garey said. "Kind of like the postman rain, sleet or snow we're gonna be available to try and help people."

Hardware stores are not the only places open.

Dr. Mark Castellaw at Baptist Medical Group said no matter how bitterly cold it gets, he and the rest of those in the medical field have a duty to serve those in need.

"People can get sick any time of the day, any time of the year," Dr. Castellaw said. "So that's what we signed up for. that's what we're here for is to care for folks no matter what."

Two jobs in two different fields, but with the same mission to serve the public in whatever way they can.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.