Polk County remembers deadly blizzard of '93 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Polk County remembers deadly blizzard of '93

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POLK COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Lightning and thunder rolled in during the evening of Friday, March 12, 1993.

By that Saturday morning, Polk county residents woke up without power and in awe of the snow that blanketed Benton. EMT in 1993, Susan Lee remembers it like it was yesterday.

"I'm hoping through this story that people realize that you really need to take into account what Paul said, because he pretty well, told us. Most of us were ignoring it," says Lee.

It took a few days for emergency responders to realize the severity of the storm.

"It was lightning and snowing, and I could tell that this was unlike anything I had ever seen before in my life. I had never seen this, so I thought ya know, this is not good," says EMA Director Stephen Lofty.

Two deaths were reported in Polk county during the storm. A man died while shoveling snow, along with an infant.

EMA Director Stephen Lofty remembers having to choose which calls to respond to. He says there were too many.

"Had a young lady who was about to have a baby, who was having, due to this situation, was in crisis. We brought her in," adds Lofty.

Fallen trees blocked roads. There was no power. Radios failed and the entire county fell silent.

"We couldn't talk to anybody; a lot of the people that had portable radios couldn't re-charge their radios," adds Lofty.

A few changes have been made since 1993 to improve emergency communication. A new emergency management facility was built in 2011. Residents can sign up for a free 'alert now' app for information on weather threats.

Have a weather related story idea? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.

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