Memphis area ties record set in 1940 for days below freezing


Icicles hang from a home’s roof in Memphis (David Royer, WREG)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The deep freeze is finally thawing.

Saturday morning, the Memphis area woke up to temperatures in the single digits with wind chills right around 0.

But the sun was out, and WREG’s Weather Experts were expecting highs near 37 degrees — five degrees above freezing — with a warming trend over the next few days.

WREG’s Wendy Nations said that until Saturday, the Memphis area remained under 32 degrees for nine straight days, tying a record streak set in 1940 and 1899.

The prolonged freeze has jammed up water pipes and caused many to burst, creating major water problems for many MLGW customers.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said Friday night that four weather-related deaths had been confirmed in Shelby County. Others were outside the WREG viewing area.

One of those deaths was 10-year-old Benjamin Luckett, who died saving his 6-year-old sister Abigail after she fell in an icy pond in north Shelby County. Abigail is reportedly recovering.

The freeze impacted daily life for 257,000 MLGW customers. Some boiled snow for drinking water. Some restaurants were forced to close.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis said it was forced to switch to bottled drinking water and bagged ice and that staff and patients were washing with hand sanitizer and no-rinse bathing wipes. All non-urgent surgeries were postponed.

Rhodes College in Memphis said Friday that about 700 residential students were being moved to hotels in the suburbs of Germantown and Collierville after school bathrooms stopped functioning because of low water pressure.

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