Staff photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press Georgia Department of Transportation workers ready the snow plows at a department facility in Catoosa County on Wednesday. Georgia and Tennessee are preparing for snow and ice on Thursday during a period of intense cold that has swept through the South in the past week.
Guests checked out early at a downtown Chattanooga hotel and an area hardware store ran out of salt Wednesday as the Chattanooga area braced for low temperatures in the teens and a predicted snowfall today.
Talk of snow was the topic at many a lunchtime meal. It led many as early as Tuesday night to stock up at supermarkets and hardware stores.
Wednesday was also a day when people looked ahead to take stock of backup supplies and secure ways to get to their jobs.
* Unum -- Major Chattanooga employer Unum has not closed for inclement weather since 1993, but encouraged employees to make a good-faith decision on whether they can get to work safely or not. Many employees have the ability to work from home, and decisions on whether or not they will be charged a vacation day are determined on a case by case basis.
* BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee -- Employees are paid for time missed if the company is closed due to snow, said spokeswoman Mary Thompson on Wednesday. However, the company has only closed once in the last 20 years because of blizzard conditions, and will announce any closings to employees through its internal notification system and by the media.
* DoubleTree Hotel-Chattanooga -- Many customers checked out early on Wednesday to travel home before the snow hit, manager Wendy Varnell said. The hotel allows guests to stay over or cancel without penalty in case of bad weather.
* Sheraton Read House -- The Sheraton is prepared for local residents to stay overnight in case dangerous conditions prevent them from leaving, according to manager Trevor Goulding. On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Goulding had not seen a significant movement of guests into or out of the hotel in anticipation of snow.
* Ace Hardware, Broad Street -- Ace officials said Wednesday they were expecting another shipment of salt to meet potential demand after the store ran out. The chain sells shovels and weatherproofing materials.
* Home Depot, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. -- Lindsey Smith at the Home Depot said Wednesday the store has salt in stock as well as cold weather materials such as car windshield wiper de-icer, kerosene and foam filler for homeowners trying to block cold air from entering cracks in walls.
* Chattanooga Times Free Press -- The newspaper earlier this week notified its employees that they should be particularly careful coming to work should it snow. It said employees would be charged a vacation day if they aren't able to be on the job.
* Lowe's, Gunbarrel Road -- A salt shipment was expected to arrive today, manager Mike Smith said. Heating equipment supplies are running low, but shipments are expected. Staffers are on hand to assist homeowners interested in weatherproofing, he said.
* Greg Pantz -- If it snows Mr. Pantz, a pedestrian downtown Wednesday, said he plans to enjoy it with his children, and has an alternate power source and a gas grill in case of a power outage.
-- Compiled by staff writer Ellis Smith, email@example.com