NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Middle Tennessee is bracing for yet another snow event. A winter storm watch will go into effect from 6 p.m. Saturday until 6 p.m. Sunday.
Officials are urging everyone to make plans so you can stay home and off the roads for at least Sunday and Monday if needed.
For those who have to get out on the roads, go ahead and prep an emergency bag. Triple A suggests you keep an ice scraper and jumper cables in the car and pack blankets, water and snacks in case you get stuck. Having a charger, flashlight and first aid kit can also come in handy.
While driving, take it slow and drive to the conditions, not the posted speed limit. Maintain a large distance between you and other cars on the road in case anyone skids or spins out.
Due to the rain, snow and freezing temperatures expected in Metro Nashville, the Office of Emergency Management and Nashville Fire Department are urging residents to prepare their homes as well.
The department released a series of tips to prepare, including suggestions for heating, portable generator and driving safety.
Preparing for winter weather:
- Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking and weather stripping.
- Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
- Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication.
- Remember the needs of your pets.
- Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
- If you are unable to afford your heating costs, weatherization or energy-related home repairs, contact the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for help.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
- Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
Portable generator safety:
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust by operating your generator outside for proper ventilation.
- Never refuel your generator when it is running. Let it cool down first.
- Do not store fuel in a garage, basement or inside your home. Vapors can be released that can cause illness and are a potential fire hazard.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector inside your home to warn you in case of a gas leak.
- Never hook up a generator directly to your home's electrical service or wiring. This can cause back feeding and poses a serious risk to NES line workers.
- Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.
- You should be careful when traveling on roadways. Freezing rain, sleet, black ice, and fog are all hazards to be aware of when driving.
- You can check current road conditions online on the TDOT Smartway Map.
- If weather reports indicate icy conditions, consider staying off the roads until they are clear.
- Black ice is highly transparent, so it is hard to see while driving.
- Tips that may help if you get caught in areas of black ice:
- Keep your steering wheel straight. If you turn the wheel, you have a better chance of sliding and losing control of your vehicle.
- Do not brake. Braking causes the vehicle to slide, especially if you brake too hard.
- Take your foot off the accelerator to reduce speed. It is best to let the car stop on its own if you have enough room in front of you.
Protecting your pets:
- Bring your furry friends inside when temperatures take a dip!
- Wipe dog’s paws after each trip outside. Ice-melting chemicals or rock salt can cause irritation, sickness or be fatal.
- Your pet may think antifreeze is sweet, but it can be deadly.
Prepare now for lost power:
- Winter Storms can cause power outages, prepare now.
- Charge all personal electronics, including cellphones and portable batteries/power banks.
- Assemble or double-check emergency kits, which should include non-perishable food, water, blankets, prescription medicines, and flashlights with fresh batteries.
- Make a plan to check on neighbors if extreme cold or winter weather knocks out your power.
- Power outage tip: Dim the brightness in your cell phone settings to save battery life.
- Check outages in Davidson County through the NES Power Outage Center.