The winter weather event hit the Mid-South shortly after midnight. But, it still has much of the area in its grip of cold temps and ice and snow covered streets and highways. After waking up to snow and ice, if you did not have to drive in it, the scenery was great.
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If you did get out, you saw a lot of emergency crews helping disabled motorists and lots of minor wrecks. Once again it was the icy roads that caused the problems. But, not all the roads were bad. The on ramp from airways to I-240 was mostly clear of ice and snow. It was a different story on Sam Cooper. Ice and snow covered the main route into midtown from out east and the traffic was still moving slow late in the morning. Side streets that did not see much traffic were completely covered with snow and ice and diving on them was dicey, but doable if you went slowly.
The biggest fear from the ice and snow storm was the threat of falling trees and tree limbs. While a number of trees did fall overnight, it could have been much worse.
Most area schools closed, so, plenty of kids were out looking for hills to slide down. But, even close supervision from mom and dad can't stop every mishap. Sort of like the Mid-South and its collision with the winter storm, we got banged up a bit. But, for the most part we're in good shape.
In Arkansas, truck drivers weren't taking any chances with their 18-wheeler cargo on the icy roads. Many filled the truck stops prepared to camp out for the rest of the day.
"I'm going to shut it down. It's not going to get any better because it's not going to get any warmer," said truck driver Roosevelt Howard.
It's delaying his trip from East Tennessee to his home in Dallas, Texas. He says things took a cold turn on the roads when he crossed over the bridge from Memphis, Tennessee, to West Memphis, Arkansas, Monday morning.
"You can only do about 35 miles per hour because you're losing traction and sliding off the road," said Howard, "Several trucks ran off the road ... cars everywhere. It's bad."
WINTER WEATHER WARMING CENTERS OPEN
The City of Memphis Office of Emergency Management has implemented its cold weather plan. Warming stations and shelters are open to the public.
Warming Stations are places where residents dealing with extended periods of low temperatures, below 20F, may escape the extreme conditions.
Primary locations for warming stations are libraries and community centers that are opened during normal business hours. Those seeking temporary warming after normal business hours can find temporary refuge from the cold at the following locations:
For those seeking overnight accommodations due to the extreme temperatures the Charles Powell Community Center located at 810 Western Park and the Hollywood Community Center, located at 1560 N. Hollywood Ave., will open at 7 p.m. this evening. The City is partnering with the American Red Cross to accommodate those seeking shelter overnight at these locations.
Those requiring transportation to these locations are encouraged to contact MATA at 901-722-7129 before 11pm. Staff will continue to monitor the situation throughout the night and tomorrow for any changes in conditions.
AAA WINTER TRAVEL TIPS
Always travel with the name and phone number of your agent and airline. Should your airline experience a cancellation and you booked through a travel agent, contact them immediately for assistance rebooking; otherwise contact your airline.
If your flight is cancelled while you're waiting in an airport, try waiting in line at a service desk, while at the same time calling the airline on a cell phone. That way, you have two options to receive service.
Should you have questions regarding flights that have not been cancelled as yet, contact the airline as they would have the most up to date information in this instance. Frequent checking of the airlines website can also provide updates on flight status.
Try subscribing to your airlines text, phone, or email notification service. Sometimes they can alert you to cancellations before you leave home.
Each airline is different regarding rebooking/cancellation fees should you decide to change your flight. Always check with your travel agent or airline to be sure you are aware of any cancellation fees should you request change.
If weather is uncertain carry personal essentials on board in case your flight is cancelled and you have to stay overnight. Remember that bad weather in major hubs (Memphis, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, etc.) can cause widespread cancellations even in areas where the weather is fine.
Be aware that in almost all circumstances passengers, not airlines, are responsible for their own expenses when weather delays or cancels flights.
Especially for very expensive or very special trips, travel insurance can mean the difference between a major inconvenience and a financial disaster. However, be very clear about what the insurance will cover. Some policies will cover weather delays and cancellations, others will not.