Storms, freezing temps cause 22 deaths in Tennessee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — The death toll from this past week’s winter storms is up to 22 in Tennessee.
Officials say six deaths were the result of traffic accidents, three died in a fire, and nine succumbed to hypothermia. The rest were for various causes, including one man who couldn’t get to dialysis treatment.
Most of Middle Tennessee escaped additional damage during Friday’s ice storm, but the Cumberland Plateau wasn’t so lucky.
Cookeville Stonecom Radio News Director Rafferty Cleary tells us that Entires and Cumberland counties saw some of the worst damage. Cleary says all of Fentress County lost power; about 40,000 homes in total. Monday morning Cumberland County still had about 18,000 homes without electricity.
There are seven emergency shelters open as of Monday in five counties. Cleary says the shelters in Fentress and Cumberland counties alone are caring for more than 300 people.
Cleary says the damage looks like what you’d see following a bad tornado, only much more widespread. While out covering the storm he came across a Jamestown area resident in need of help.
“There was an elderly lady. Turns out she was 76 years old. She was shuffling through the snow. I hopped out of our station truck and just felt the need to go check on her. I immediately asked, ‘Are you OK?’ and she said, “No, I’m cold, I’m alone, there’s no one in the house with me and I’m running low on Kerosene.’”
Cleary was able to put her in touch with emergency responders.
Gov. Bill Haslam has placed Tennessee on a higher level of emergency that allows hard-hit areas to qualify for state and federal assistance. Cleary says FEMA is already on the scene.
There's only a slight chance of additional ice or snow in the mid-state this week, but don’t look for much of a warm up. Nighttime lows will remain in the teens to mid-20s all week.