MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Face-stinging sleet fell Friday in Memphis and surrounding areas, leading to potentially hazardous road conditions and warnings of power outages caused by ice accumulation on electrical lines and trees.
The National Weather Service said winter storm warnings and advisories and an ice storm warning were in effect for northern Mississippi and West Tennessee on Friday. Meteorologist John Moore said a layer of ice as thick as three-tenths of an inch could accumulate on roads, bridges and highways — including the Interstate 40 corridor — making driving perilous.
Shipping giant FedEx, which has its worldwide hub in Memphis, was monitoring the situation with its team of meteorologists, company spokesman Scott Fielder said. Delivery delays may occur in areas where the storm caused unsafe driving and flying conditions, he said.
Ice had built up on the windshields and roofs of parked cars throughout Memphis on Friday. In Shelby County, which includes the city, crews spread a mixture of salt and cinders on the streets to combat the ice, while business owners also put salt on sidewalks in front of their stores. Law enforcement reported an increase in traffic crashes, and scattered power outages affected more than 4,000 people, emergency and utility officials said.
Memphis Gas Light & Water, the city's main utility, sent crews to areas that experienced power outages, and had more workers standing by, spokeswoman Jackie Reed said.
"Temperatures continue to drop. Ice has now formed on roads, power lines and trees," the Shelby County Office of Preparedness said in a news release Friday afternoon.