Clarksville mayor declares state of emergency following weekend storm

Posted at 4:37 PM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 23:35:43-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts declared a State of Emergency for ongoing issues from a weekend storm that caused significant damage and lasting power outages.

Hundreds people are still without power in the area are facing a tough night as temperatures are expected to bottom out Thursday night.

The city council took a unanimous vote to declare the State of Emergency during a special-called meeting. The mayor clarified that the declaration would not be tied to any TEMA or FEMA efforts, but would rather allow the city to make emergency purchase that exceed the city's budget in order to help residents.

A Freeze Watch is in effect from midnight Thursday to 9 a.m. Friday. After a blustery night for trick-or-treaters, temps will keep falling through Friday morning.

"I want to thank our customers for being patient in this historical event, I know it is much longer than we thought it would be," said Clarksville Department of Electricity General Manager Brian Taylor during the city council meeting.

Taylor compared Saturday's storm damage to the damage they saw during the 1994 ice storm, which left some people in the dark for up to seven days.

"When [Saturday's] event came through at 3 p.m., we had 28 breakers that locked out, that means nobody on that circuit had power," he explained. And with that, more than 32,000 of CDE's 71,000 customers were without power.

He said additional crews were brought in to help restore power as quickly as possible. Ten compound tree trimming crews were called in due to the high number of broken utility poles, which has slowed the process of restoring power.

At 3 p.m. Thursday, the City of Clarksville and Red Cross opened the Kleeman Recreation Center at 166 Cunningham Lane as an overnight warming shelter for those who still have no power. It will open as a shelter Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Cots, blankets and shower facilities are available along with water and light meals. Program and membership fees will be waived for residents using the warming shelter.

“We know that some families are struggling through power outages, and the forecast calls for below-freezing temperatures for several nights,” Mayor Joe Pitts said. “This gives people an option to get out of the cold, get a hot shower, and use the recreation areas.”

Regular programming will be suspended at the Kleeman Center while the warming center is in operation. Kleeman is operated by the Clarksville Parks & Recreation Department, which is partnering with the City’s Office of Housing & Community Development and the Red Cross to provide the warming shelter services