ROGERSVILLE — With record low temperatures and high winds in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday, the director of the Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency is hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.
What concerns Gary Murrell most about the forecast is the combination of winds and near-zero temperatures at night.
High winds often result in power outages, which is a recipe for disaster with windchill temperatures predicted below zero.
“We’re going to be in close contact with power companies, and we can have an emergency shelter open within an hour,” Murrell said. “We’re also working closely with Red Cross, so we should have all of our bases covered as far as being able to provide emergency shelter.”
Murrell added, “When weather like this hits, our main concern is power outages for extended periods of time. If it’s a big area, it may take a while for the power company to get them back online.”
Murrell said the first thing Hawkins County residents should do if their power goes out is call 911 and report it. If a household needs emergency shelter, the 911 dispatcher will tell them where to go, or if they need transportation send an emergency responder to pick them up and take them to a shelter.
“With the wind we’re going to have, power outages are inevitable,” Murrell said. “We all need to work together to get through this. I want people to check on their family, friends, neighbors, and especially the elderly. And, don’t forget about the pets. We want everybody to know if they have a problem, call 911 and they’re going to pass it on to the sheriff’s office for emergency management. We’re going to take care of the problem, one way or the other.”