CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- The Blizzard of '93 shut down much of the Tennessee Valley for several days. Many road crews, power workers and emergency personnel worked non-stop to get the city up and running again.
They didn't have the equipment and technology available today, which made their jobs more difficult.
Don Allen said "Our county had no 4-wheel drive vehicles. We didn't have nearly enough road equipment to clear the roads."
Danny Grier of Chattanooga Public Works said "A number of single axle trucks just had what we call the tailgate spreaders on the back which had to be hand-fed"
Chattanooga and Hamilton County had never seen a snow the magnitude of The Storm of '93. Even though many had their doubts the Tennessee Valley would ever experience a blizzard, city and county leaders paid attention.
Danny Grier: "No one really thought it was gonna happen even during that day. It was still, everybody waiting to see what was gonna happen."
Don Allen remembers "This happened Friday night. So probably by Wednesday we were pretty clued in that this was going to be some bad stuff."
It didn't take long for the snow accumulations to pile up.
The snow came so fast, and so heavy, city workers weren't able to keep up.
Interstate 75 and the Interstate 24 ridgecut were shut down, stranding motorists for more than a day.
An emergency shelter was set up at the Trade Center for a couple thousand people.
Rescue crews had trouble reaching those who needed help all across the Tennessee Valley.
Don Allen said "They had to walk 3 miles in knee to waist-deep snow."
Twenty years later, emergency crews would still face many of the challenges if another big storm hit the area, but they are much better prepared.
The city has new mechanized trucks that will spread brine and salt, instead of using manual labor to clear roads.
Danny Grier of Chattanooga Public Works says "With that and the plans we have for primary routes and secondary routes we have in place now, it just makes it a whole lot easier."
Saturday, January 20 2018 10:29 PM EST2018-01-21 03:29:09 GMT
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