Local, state officials warn area residents of inclement weather
Sudden freezing temperatures expected to hit Chattanooga, Hamilton County Thursday night, Friday morning
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — Multiple agencies and organizations are preparing for the worst tonight in the Tennessee Valley, as inclement weather “not seen in decades” is on the way.
Everyone from Mayor Wamp’s Office to UTC, EPB and the Hamilton County Highway Department is either advising residents to stay safe or providing service updates on what to expect.
Flash freezing is expected to turn wet roads icy within hours early Friday morning.
Like many in the Valley, Hamilton County’s Highway Department is monitoring the inclement weather.
If you must be on the road, the department says to give its plow and salt trucks “plenty of space.”
“Any moisture that’s on the roads will freeze,” said Brandon Mauracher, the department’s director. “We currently have four crews set up to work a 12-hour shift, starting at midnight to 12 o’clock on Friday, and another crew to pick up from there just to kind of catch icy spots.”
Both UTC and the Tennesee Highway Patrol took to social media Thursday in preparation of the severe cold.
Chattanooga’s Dept. of Public Works says that forestry crews will be “on call in the event of downed trees” while EPB’s Smart Grid system is “at the ready” with crews on standby to assist in case of an outage.
For those who must get on the road and brace the freezing conditions, Mauracher says to drive prepared.
“Make sure your vehicle is working properly, tire treads’ good, brakes [and] all your lights are working,” Mauracher said. “Give yourself enough time, a little more time than normal, to get to-and-from places. With the slick conditions, speeds need to be reduced a lot in these kinds of conditions.”
Mauracher also advises having emergency equipment, such as jumper cables, in your car as well as food, water, blankets and even flares, if possible, in case of emergency.
“Another good thing to have is a bag of kitty litter or sand that can be thrown under tires to kind of help give you some more traction — things along those lines,” Mauracher said. “Just make sure you’re bundled for the upcoming cold weather.”
According to the National Weather Service out of Morristown, tonight’s temperature will drop “rapidly after midnight.”
Rain will then become snow, although not much is expected.
The biggest concern out of everything tonight, however, may be the black ice that accumulates on the road.