EMA directors react to wintry weather


GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. — “A lot of roads really don’t need to have anyone driving on them,” Gibson County EMA Director Rickey Graves said.

Stay at home until you have to get out. That’s the message coming from Graves on Wednesday.

“This is an event that seems to be bad all over. It’s not something that seems like it’s worse here,” Graves said.

From Milan to Humboldt to Trenton, Graves says the roads are in grave condition.

“We have had a lot of people slip off into the ditches even though traffic is way down,” Graves said.

He says lack of equipment is making things difficult.

“We don’t have the brine like the state does,” Graves said. “We do have the grater and a couple out hitting critical spots.”

It’s not just Gibson County. Crockett and Chester counties are iced over as well.

“Highway 412 is clear. Highway 88 is clear, but all the county roads have an inch of ice on them,” Crockett County EMA Director Joe Jones said.

I asked what they are doing to help de-ice the situation.

“Wait for warmer weather,” Jones responded.

In Chester County, crews were out salting the roads.

“They are doing the major intersections and main roads,” Chester County EMA Director Johnny Farris said. “Of course they don’t have enough equipment to do every single road, but at the major intersection.”

Bree Hugueley and Shayna Ridings tell me they had a frightening ride.

“We slid to the side and we broke our tire rod,” Ridings said.

“‘Oh God, I hope these trucks see us,'” Hugueley said. “Luckily they were paying attention, saw us and they didn’t hit us.”

Now they are pleading along with officials for one thing.

“If you don’t have to get out, then stay at home,” Hugueley said.


MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — Slick and dangerous conditions continue across West Tennessee, especially in Madison County.

“All of our secondary roads are not completely safe, and an inexperienced driver out there is going to have trouble,” Madison County EMA Director Marty Clements said.

Clements says his team passed several accidents on the way in Wednesday morning.

“He passed eight different wrecks where people slid off the side of the road,” Clements said.

Clements says don’t be fooled by the main roads.

“They get on the major roads and they are dry and good, then they turn off onto the secondary roads and they are right there in trouble,” Clements said.

Slow and steady wins the race.

“The biggest problem we have is people are going too fast and they are on top of each other,” Clements said.

With call after call, first responders have been busy.

“Someone abandoned a vehicle yesterday on the bypass in one of the lanes of traffic, and we had to block one of the lanes of traffic until the police got there,” Clements said.

Clements talks about some tricky spots across the Hub City.

“Trying to go up Highland and Parkway on either side is tricky,” Clements said. “We had 18-wheelers that jackknifed that couldn’t get up.”

Clements says this Saturday they are hosting a special event trying to get churches ready for any situation.

“We are hosting an emergency plan for churches this is for any church that don’t have a plan, no matter the church or religion,” Clements said.

The main message for everyone is clear.

“Limit your exposure to being out there,” Clements said.

For more information about the Saturday workshop, call the Madison County Emergency Management Center at 731-427-1271.

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