MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The arctic blast was record-breaking, creating temperatures the Mid-South hasn’t seen in decades and leaving many to deal with the effects.
What started as a warning escalated in minutes as temperatures plunged and snow began to fall, wreaking havoc across Memphis.
The sight led to the cancellations of dozens of flights out of the Memphis International Airport and many more across the country.
The weather also caused the Memphis Area Transit Authority to suspend services temporarily, leaving some riders stranded.
“I already was on eggshells trying to walk to the bus stop. Now I gotta walk back home,” said a MATA rider.
Not only did the weather affect transportation but it also resulted in the Tennessee Valley Authority mandating providers, like MLGW, to start rolling blackouts, leaving 226,000 people in the cold and dark.
“No one expected the electrical load and the demand for electricity would exceed what has been record high to this point but that’s in fact what happen,” said Doug McGowen, MLGW president.
Despite the power being restored to those affected by blackouts, MLGW has now shifted its attention toward addressing breaks in several water mains, which caused parts of Memphis to be under a boil water advisory.
“All of us living on this side of Memphis are not living comfortably. [We] fill up the toilet with water so that we can use it, now that’s what’s crazy,” said Jacquelyn Perry, a Memphis resident.
This is the reality for many as they deal with the effects of this historic winter storm.
Several Memphis city leaders say they plan to meet with TVA officials to discuss how to prepare for future weather events that could test the power grid’s sustainability.