Winter’s icy grip in Bedford County

Thursday, February 18, 2021
Workers repair power lines on Liberty Pike in Bell Buckle Wednesday morning.
T-G Photo by Terence Corrigan

The ongoing winter storm that has frozen Bedford County has made its presence felt more in the rural areas than in Shelbyville as thousands in the county have gone without electricity at times and falling trees have blocked roads.

As of Wednesday morning, roughly 2,000 households in the Shelbyville area were without electricity, Duck River Electric Membership Corp. said in a statement to the Times-Gazette.

Duck River is receiving help from its existing contractors as well as crews from the surrounding area. Crews are working mostly during the daylight hours because it is dangerous to work at night in this weather, but some linemen are working round the clock. Their efforts have been hampered at times by closed roads.

Duck River officials said they were keeping an eye on the weather forecast for the rest of the week.

Customer meters automatically alert the utility about outages, so there is no need to call, Duck River officials said. However, if customers need to reach out, they may also contact the utility through its social media accounts.

Bedford County and much of the midstate were under a winter storm warning from Wednesday through today at 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service’s Nashville office. They were calling for snow accumulations of between 2 to 4 inches and ice accumulations of up to 0.1 inches.

Bedford County Schools stayed closed all week.

The weather has kept county fire and road crews busy.

Bedford County road and fire crews were slowly winning the battle against slick roads and fallen trees Wednesday after Monday’s ice and snow storm — as the possibility of additional icy conditions loomed for today.

“We had 21 service calls Monday,” Bedford County Fire Chief Mark Thomas said. He hadn’t yet seen Tuesday’s numbers for runs involving fires, tree removal and stranded drivers.

“We’ve been really busy getting people into shelter,” Thomas said, including six who ran out of natural gas for home heating. “We’ve cut a lot of trees along with the county and state highway departments.”

Crews investigated one fire, originating from a wood heater in a basement, Tuesday night at a home on Coop Road.

Thomas said the eastern and southern portions of Bedford County were hardest hit, with fewer problems in the Unionville and Rover areas which received more snow than ice. An estimated 2 inches of snow fell in northwestern Bedford County.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol reported 29 accidents in District 7, which includes Bedford County, on Monday and Tuesday.

But hope was in the air Wednesday.

A couple of rounds of salt have been spread with hopes the second coating will “loosen up” packed ice and snow on county roads, she said. Highway Superintendent Mark Clanton stockpiled salt last summer, Forbes said, and plenty remains for the remainder of the winter.

Road crew workers’ biggest problem has been danger from falling trees and limbs.

Problems were minimal inside Shelbyville. Fire Marshal Jason Richardson said first responders got “quite a few medical calls” but no other major issues occurred.