MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has declared a State of Emergency on Friday after a severe winter storm plunged the city into single-digit temperatures.
The mayor’s order cites flash freezing, property damage, power outages, and interruption of public transit and emergency vehicles as posing a significant danger to public safety.
In a press conference with MLGW CEO Doug McGowen, he suggested that residents conserve power by avoiding using large appliances until temperatures rise.
McGowen said with the onset of winter weather, it knocked out power to about 31,000 customers and at the time of the press conference, it was down to approximately 13,000.
In addition, the TVA has rescinded its alert on the power system and there will not be any rolling blackouts in the foreseeable future, MLGW President McGowen said in a noon press conference Friday.
Power problems even affected one of the city’s warming shelters. Staff and occupants at the Hickory Hill warming shelter had to be transferred to the Dave Wells Community Center after power went out at the Hickory Hill center.
In the same press conference, Chief Operating Officer Chandell Ryan said there would be service changes to curbside solid waste pickups.
For customers that have trash pickup on Friday, Dec. 23, it has been postponed until Tuesday, Dec. 27. Ryan advised customers can leave their bins on the curb until it has been collected.
Director of Public Works, Robert Knecht said that the city is treating the roads and priority areas with salt spreaders to mitigate the inclement road conditions.
Director Knecht said there are about 6,714 miles of lane roads in the city in an area of 324 square miles. Priority areas for the city include: bridges and overpasses, main roads with inclines or declines and emergency service areas such as fire departments, hospitals and police stations.
At last check, more than 7,000 MLGW customers were without power. The city is also asking people to avoid getting on the roads due to the icy conditions.