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Bundled up, Greater Memphis moving forward, cautiously

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With the temperature gauge engaged in an arduous push to edge above freezing and the forecast suggesting a warming, Greater Memphis is bundled up and moving forward, cautiously.

The National Weather Service projects a Tuesday high near 34, with a jump to near 42 on Wednesday, near 47 on Thursday and near 56 and Sunny on Friday.

Across the metropolitan area, the weather front that dumped snow, ice, sleet and rain left frozen reminders of its interruption of the routine. Although major streets and passageways were passable, ice remains forcing motorists to adjust accordingly.

4sblufftreeDSC 9765For some, the storm was much more of a hardship than for others, with the variables including power outages, felled trees, temperamental heating systems and children, who normally would be in schools. Shelby County Schools remained closed for a second straight day on Tuesday.

4frozenpondIMG Snow_Day_6555The City of Memphis Office of Emergency Management's cold weather plan was in effect overnight, with warming stations and shelters open to the public. The City of Memphis partnered with the American Red Cross to accommodate those seeking shelter overnight at available locations, with MATA involved to help with transportation.

4streetDSC 9754No fatalities had been attributed to the cold-weather event.

At just before 7:30 Monday night, dispatchers at the Shelby County Fire Department were alerted to a large home fire on Watkins Rd. just north of the Northaven community. Multiple engine companies from both the Shelby County Fire Department and the Millington Fire Department responded.

4winterart20140304 082433The extreme weather did present some challenges that had to be overcome, including a narrow ice-covered driveway and frigid temperatures that saw the water from the attack nozzles freezing on every surface that was not on fire. The fire fighters were not immune.

Ammunition stored in the home detonated from the flames, forcing fire fighters to go defensive on the fire. The 2,600 square foot wooden framed home endured major damage.

Among the factors for the start of the fire that are being considered are a wood burning stove. A formal investigation was on-going. The residents of the home all safely got out and no fire fighters were hurt during this operation.

As it does no matter the weather, the Shelby County Fire Department urges everyone to practice smart fire safety. That includes considering family escape plans, the safe distance for safely operating space heaters, home fire extinguishers and especially the effective placement and operation of all smoke detection devices.

Reminder: Citizens should check on relatives and friends who live alone, especially the elderly and disabled. Pets should also stay indoors.

The forecast:

· Today: Cloudy, with a high near 34. North northeast wind 5 to 10 mph.
· Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24. North northeast wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
· Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 42. Light northeast wind becoming north northeast 5 to 10 mph in the morning.
· Wednesday night: A 20 percent chance of rain. Cloudy, with a low around 33. North northeast wind 5 to 10 mph.
· Thursday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47. North northwest wind 5 to 10 mph.
· Thursday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 31. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
· Friday: Sunny, with a high near 56. Calm wind becoming south southwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
· Friday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46. South wind around 5 mph.

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