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Thousands spend days without power as storm brings ice, flash floods

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Heavy rainfall caused flash flooding on Walters in Covington. Photo by France Gasquet

As many as 11,000 homes in the area were without power this week after a storm dumped ice, sleet and a record-breaking amount of rain Tuesday. 

Mark Only, spokesperson for Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Co-operative, said Tipton was one of the worst counties the co-op was clearing.

"That number is for all over our area, but most of the outages and damage was concentrated in Tipton County," he said. 

Rain began falling in Tipton County on Sunday, turning to ice and causing outages. Schools were closed Monday, dismissed early Tuesday when roadways became treacherous with fallen limbs and power lines.

On Tuesday afternoon, many streets began flash flooding after a full day of precipitation and 2-4 inches of heavy rain fell in a two-hour period. 

"We responded to 90 calls from noon until five minutes after 11 p.m.," said Covington-Tipton County Emergency Management Agency Director Tommy Dunavant. "It was everything from trees and power lines across the roads to roads being closed for flooding and mud." 

Power outages and blocked roads closed schools on Wednesday and Thursday, too.

Dunavant said the agency's concern is now the ice remaining on the trees and another arctic blast headed this way. There's also a chance for snow on Thursday and Friday.

"We're expecting winds up to 20 miles per hour with gusts up to 30," he said. "It's been a rough, rough winter."

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