The coldest air to reach Middle Tennessee in 20 years has moved into the area.
Room In The Inn helped give shelter to 434 people in Nashville Sunday night, which is a record number. They say they could help even more people Monday night, as most of the area is under a wind chill advisory until Tuesday at 8 a.m.
During this period, temperatures in Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky will remain in the single digits, while breezy conditions will produce wind chill temperatures ranging from five to 15 degrees below zero.
Temperatures will not reach above the freezing point in Middle Tennessee until Wednesday afternoon, ahead of another storm system that could bring a wintry mix to the area on Thursday morning.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has declared a State of Emergency and partially activated the State Emergency Operations Center.
TEMA encourages drivers to stay off the roads and not travel unless absolutely necessary, given the potential for flash freezing after the temperature drops and the expected snowfall.
If you are traveling, you can call 511 in Tennessee for the latest on road conditions. If you get into an emergency on the road, call 911 or *THP (*847) from a mobile phone to be connected to the closest Tennessee Highway Patrol dispatch office.
Metro Schools closed Tuesday
Metro Nashville Public Schools announced it has delayed the start to its spring semester due to the extreme cold temperatures. Metro students will report to school on Wednesday, Jan. 8, for the first day of the new semester.
Severe cold weather can cause injuries and death due to frostbite and hypothermia. To prevent death and serious injury, the Metro Office of Emergency Management and Metro Homelessness Commission are encouraging all homeless individuals to seek shelter.
If you see anyone outdoors who appears to be in distress or disoriented, or if you are at-risk of exposure to the extreme cold, call Metro police for assistance at 615-862-8600.
The homelessness commission is operating an Extreme Weather Information Line at 615-800-0195.
In Davidson County, available shelters include:
Nashville Rescue Mission, which will remain open through the day. Men's Campus: 639 Lafayette St.; Women's Campus: 1716 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
Room In The Inn, which will have extended day hours. For shelter through Room In The Inn's congregations, please be at 705 Drexel St. by 4:30 p.m.
Open Table Nashville, which will open emergency warming shelters for people with pets, couples and others who cannot be served at other locations. Shelters will be open on Friday, Jan. 3 and Sunday, Jan. 5 through Tuesday, Jan. 7. For shelter through Open Table, please be at Church Street Park across from the Downtown Public Library by 5 p.m.
In Rutherford County, the Journey Home as partnered with the Salvation Army to provide drop-in emergency shelter for men at the Salvation Army gymnasium, 1137 W. Main St. Men seeking shelter can come as early at 7 p.m. Doors will lock at 9:30 p.m. No entry after 9:30. Exit time is at 7 a.m. Identification is required, and folks seeking shelter should bring only what you will need for the night.
Women and children may receive shelter through the Way of Hope, which picks up at the Tourney Home between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. For more information, contact Brad Blomgren at 615-653-8027.
In Montgomery County, First Baptist Church, 435 Madison St., Clarksville, will host a "warming station" in its gymnasium, beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday and continuing 24 hours per day through noon on Wednesday.
Keep your pipes from freezing
Take precautions now to ensure your home is ready for the extreme cold temperatures.
TD Wilson, with Hiller Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, has been a plumber for the past four decades. He says when the mercury dips well below freezing, pipes can freeze under your home.
"The main key thing is to make sure all your foundation vents are closed, so cold air is not getting in. And if you have a crawl space door, make sure it's sealed properly. The main thing is keeping the wind out from under your house," Wilson said.
Wilson expects calls to pick up about frozen pipes but says there's an easy way to keep your pipes working properly.
"Just a steady drip. That keeps the water moving just enough to keep your pipes from freezing," he said.
Take precautions with your vehicle
Here is some advice from experts on what you can to do keep your car running safely during extremely chilly temperatures:
Always have at least half a tank of gas in the vehicle
Make sure your antifreeze is full
Make sure your windshield wiper fluid is full
Protect animals from life-threatening cold
Mt. Juliet Animal Services released this list of simple steps to help protect your animals during cold temperatures:
Keep pets inside. If animals can't be inside, provide a warm, comfortable place. Face shelter away from wind and provide a flap or door to help keep the animal's body heat inside.
Bedding is essential for insulation. It protects the animal from the snow and ice underneath the body and allows the animal to retain heat within the bedding.
Cats may sleep under the hoods of cars to stay warm. If you have outdoor cats in your area, check under the hood before starting your car.
Keep your pets secure in fencing or use a leash. Pets can lose their sense of smell and direction in the snow and ice, so they can become lost.
Wipe off your dog's legs and stomach after being outdoors to remove any ice, salt or chemicals.
Outdoor pets need more calories to produce body heat so extra food and water must be provided. Devices are now available to keep water dishes from freezing; if one is not available, fill and replace water frequently.
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