MOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – As the threat of winter weather looms for much of the Tri-Cities, people in the area’s higher elevations are preparing for several inches of snow, including Mountain City.
On Friday, shoppers flocked to the local Food Country, hoping to stock up in case the snow is severe enough to keep people home for an extended weekend.
“I got just a lot of groceries, a lot of water,” said shopper Hollie Miller. “I’ll probably be snowed in.”
As folks looked for those essentials — milk, bread and eggs — they found some stock still available, but shelves were beginning to look sparse. Gallons of whole and 2% milk were out Friday evening.
Store managers said they expect an extra truck shipment to arrive overnight which should help late shoppers on Saturday.
The potential for heavy snow was not a problem for some. David Miller, who filled his van with groceries, said he is excited about a good snowfall.
“I’d like to get my youngins on some sleds and watch them go down the hill, make a few passes myself down through there,” Miller said. “We got a pretty good size group. The six of us eat all the time, so we got enough to make sure we got it for a few days.”
Outside of town, a different kind of preparation will take place over the weekend. Cattle farmer Bud Gentry said even though his cows weigh over a thousand pounds, they can still get cold in the snow without the proper care.
“They’ll spend a lot of their energy trying to keep their body core temperature up,” Gentry said. “You just give them plenty enough hay to eat and then we supplement ours with grain.”
Getting the cattle enough food to maintain body temperature requires daily feeding, however. On the sloping hills of his farm, that means taking a tractor up steep inclines coated with snow.
“Trying to get around on these hills with the tractors, in a lot of snow, it’s slipping and sliding,” Gentry said. “It makes it a little more difficult.”
Gentry is also the owner of Tri-States Growers Co-op in Mountain City. He said most of his business Friday was farmers stocking up on enough feed for the snowstorm and people purchasing road salt and snow shovels.
Johnson County Emergency Management Director Jason Blevins said the county’s snowplow workforce is fully staffed and ready to tackle the snow on the county’s roads.
Blevins spent Friday calling the power company and other partners to make sure the emergency response to a severe winter storm is ready.
“We’ve touched base with the Red Cross today just in case they’re needed,” Blevins said. “We have to look worst case scenario and everything, so we’re just reaching out to all our partners.”
He said the main roads are usually well-salted and cleared during winter weather, but backroads can be slicker.
Blevins advised if you don’t have to go out during the snow, then stay home.