The Tennessee Valley Authority set an all-time record for power demand in February on Thursday morning, and local stores have sold out of heaters.
TVA said the record set at 7 a.m. Thursday was 32,109 megawatts, with an average temperature of 7 degrees Fahrenheit.
Downtown Hardware in Oak Ridge reported that they were down to two electric heaters.
“We’re completely sold out of kerosene and propane,” said Ann Bratton, who co-owns the store with her brother Roger Clary. “That seems to be what people are asking for.”
Other stores that are also out of heaters are calling Downtown Hardware to see if they have any left.
“Everyone has been trying to work together to try to get people what they need,” Bratton said.
She said Downtown Hardware is sold out of ice melter but could get more in on Friday.
Representatives at Home Depot in Oak Ridge said the store is sold out of heaters, snow shovels, and ice melt, and there are no heaters at any other stores within 20 miles. Some of the supplies have been sold out for several days.
Bratton said Downtown Hardware has had at least 50 calls for ice melter.
“We’re just having a hard time getting anymore,” she said.
The store is sold out of snow shovels but received six more sleds Thursday, although they’re already selling and expected to go quickly.
The forecast calls for continued cold weather through Friday and a winter storm watch starting Friday afternoon, with snow possibly moving in again.
That snow would follow an icy mix of precipitation on Monday and snow on Wednesday. The unusual winter weather has brought many communities in East Tennessee to a virtual standstill, with many schools, offices, businesses, and government agencies closed for all or most of the week.
Many main roads are reported to be cleared, but many side streets remain ice-covered and impassable.
WYSH Radio in Clinton reported that the frigid temperatures are exacerbating icy road conditions across Anderson County and all of East Tennessee. The ice that formed Monday into Tuesday was covered on Wednesday by a layer of snow and that, combined with single-digit overnight lows and even colder wind chill factors, has left some roads impassable.
County road crews are unable to plow since what is on the roads right now is primarily ice, but Road Superintendent Gary Long said his crews are out chipping ice off of hills and laying down gravel to improve traction. While conditions are improving, officials are still urging drivers to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.
So far, this winter weather event has not resulted in any serious accidents nor has it resulted in any serious, widespread power outages in Clinton Utilities Board’s service area.
There were some power outages in Oak Ridge on Monday evening and Tuesday morning, but the vast majority of customers were without electricity for less than an hour.
Earlier this week, Oak Ridge officials reported there had been a few minor crashes, but no injuries.
See previous weather stories here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.