UPDATE: The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency raised its alert status Monday to Level 3 - State of Emergency.
At this level, a serious emergency or minor disaster has occurred or a situation is deteriorating rapidly and public warnings are being issued.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP) is activated and a state of emergency is automatically declared per TCA 58-2-107. Key or specifically needed emergency service coordinators for state departments are recalled to duty the State's Emergency Operations Center.
The Governor or the Governor's designee under TCA 58-2-107 may declare a state of emergency by executive order or proclamation, or by activation of the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP). This law allows the Governor to assume direct operational control over all or any part of the emergency management functions within the state.
The TEMP is a signed executive order of the Governor. TEMA is charged by state law TCA 58-2-106 to prepare and maintain the TEMP. Under the TEMP, a state of emergency automatically occurs when the Activation Level is Level 3 or above.
A state of emergency expires when either 60 days has elapsed or when the Activation Level returns to Level 5.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has augmented staffing for the state's 24-hour watch in TEMA's Emergency Operations Center in Nashville as its alert status has been elevated from normal operations level in anticipation of weather conditions worsening in Tennessee throughout the day.
TEMA's activation status this morning is "Level 4-elevated," according the state agency's website. This status under state law gives the governor authority to assume direct operational control over all or any part of the emergency management functions in Tennessee.
Activation levels go from 5 to 1, with 5 being normal operations and 1 being a catastrophic disaster.
Level 4, the status this morning, means TEMA's staffing at the Emergency Operations Center's 24-hour staff may be augmented to allow more frequent monitoring of a worsening situation, like today's deteriorating weather conditions as Tropical Storm Irma pushes into Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee today. The governor may also declare a state of emergency if necessary.
Level 3 indicates a state of emergency when a serious emergency or minor disaster, Level 2 is a major disaster that could require federal aid, and Level 1 is a disaster that requires massive state and federal help, including military involvement, according to TEMA.