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Winter weather expected to impact the Sequatchie Valley and Marion County

Stay with MarionCountyMessenger.com for the latest updates on potential winter weather that’s forecast to impact our area over the next week…

Winter Weather Update Saturday 1/28/19 @ 9:31 PM CST

We’re just hours away from MUCH colder temperatures and our shot at some light snow across the region. The National Weather Service in Morristown, TN has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for our area from 3:00 AM CST early Tuesday morning until 3:00 PM CST Tuesday afternoon.

The Winter Weather Advisory details include snow accumulations up to 2-inches across the area with some locally higher amounts near 3-inches in places — mainly higher elevations. Travel could be impacted as roads could turn slippery with the precipitation along extremely cold temperatures.

What to Expect and When

Rain showers will continue into the overnight hours, gradually increasing after 11:00 PM CST. Showers will be light as there isn’t a lot of moisture with this front. We will likely see the rain transitioning to snow overnight. You can expect to see any change-over to occur locally between 2:00 AM and 5:00 AM CST. Again, snow showers will be light. Sorry, snow lovers, but this just isn’t the kind of system that generally brings the heavier snows to our area. These Arctic fronts don’t generally lead to heavy snows good for building snowmen and sledding. Those snows generally occur with Gulf lows — where the moisture comes in from the Gulf out of the south and meets the cold air in just the right combination and timing (i.e. – Superstorm ’93). Don’t expect that here tomorrow.

We’ll likely only see a trace amount — 0.5″ to 1.5″ here in the valley with any notable accumulations in the higher elevations along Walden’s Ridge and the Cumberland Plateau. Chattanooga can expect much the same with only a trace to 1″ with some locally higher amounts. It looks as though the higher accumulation amounts will occur East of Chattanooga in Bradley, Polk, and McMinn and along the Blue Ridge into North Georgia.

What Will it Impact

First of all, we’ve already seen the long list of school, business, and other closings and delays. At this point, it’s probably easier to have a list of what’s open versus what’s closed. Schools, colleges/universities, government offices, doctors offices, and many others are on a delay if not closed tomorrow in anticipation of this weather event….and thanks to those who have taken the precaution. It’s always tough to make a 100% accurate call on snow events because there are so many different variables that go into a snow forecast. No matter how many computer models we study, scenarios we run they can change in a millisecond. MANY variables must happen with the ground temperature, air temperature, upper atmospheric conditions and temperature, moisture placement and more meteorological terms and acronyms than you can shake a stick at! That said, it’s always best to play it safe rather than put lives in danger.

With this system, we could see impacts on the morning commute as moisture will be present in some form along with rapidly-cooling temperatures. Travel could become hazardous as roads can easily turn slippery with the extra cold temps…especially untreated or secondary road surfaces  There’s also the chance for some re-freezing as the cold temps will only be getting colder throughout the day on Tuesday so the risk remains for the afternoon commute in places where the surfaces may not completely dry-up by afternoon. Be safe and se extra caution while traveling. Allow extra time to get to your destination and allow extra space between you and other cars. Best advice is…if you don’t have to get on the roads — don’t. Stay in, stay safe, and stay warm!

Major Impacts

The biggest part of this system is the cold. Bone-chilling cold temperatures will be a factor as we make our way through the day on Tuesday and into Tuesday night. Temperatures will be near or below freezing throughout much of the day and will become even colder by nighttime. We’ll see our high around Midnight tonight at about 45-degrees. Those temps will fall rapidly through the early morning and into the day. Any rain/snow or precip will move out by mid-morning and skies will gradually clear by afternoon. We’ll see partly cloudy skies and temps in the mid and upper teens by Wednesday morning, so bundle-up if you’re heading out over the next 24-48 hours.

Rest of the Week

We’ll dry-up heading through the day on Tuesday and Tuesday afternoon. Cold air sticks with us through the day and into Wednesday. After we make it through those bone-chilling temps Wednesday morning we’ll remain dry as we see another chilly day with highs in the low to mid 30’s.  Dry weather will continue Thursday with lows in the teens and highs in the mid to upper 30’s. Friday we’ll stay cool with highs in the low to mid 40s and only a slight chance for a shower. The weekend looks warmer with highs making into the mid 50s and a slight chance for some scattered showers on Sunday.

Stay with MarionCountyMessenger.com for the latest updates and current conditions — online, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

 

PREVIOUS UPDATE — Winter Weather Update Saturday 1/26/19 @ 7:30 PM CDT

Our first shot of significant winter weather (finally?) is on the way to the Tennessee Valley. A strong polar low (polar vortex) will set up across the northern US early next week. A strong arctic cold front will swing through the region on Tuesday bringing with it very cold temperatures and even a shot at some accumulating snowfall for the southeast.

Temperatures Monday night will remain in the lower 40s (don’t be fooled). The cold front is expected to blast southward early Tuesday morning. Precipitation may begin as a little rain before quickly transitioning to all snow.

Forecast models are showing perhaps a quick burst of heavy snowfall for a time Tuesday morning. Now, all the snow haters are likely saying the ground and roads will be too warm. Well, in this case, two things will happen that will disprove this statement.

First, if heavy snow does indeed come down even briefly the snowfall rates may overpower ground temperatures allowing for accumulations to occur. This may be one of those times with pockets of heavier snow showers. And second, temperatures will be crashing into the lower 20s during the day Tuesday. That’s right… the lower 20s. We will then be susceptible to a phenomenon that is usually common up north, but not totally impossible this far south.That phenomenon is called a flash freeze. Basically, air temperatures drop quickly well below freezing allowing the first inch or two of the ground to freeze very quickly. This allows roads to quickly freeze as well.

Now how much snow and how cold? The high temperature on Tuesday will likely occur around midnight with dropping temperatures through the day. Along and just behind the front there is enough moisture to put down a quick 1-3 inches of snowfall, maybe a bit higher on the plateau where a bit heavier precipitation can take place. Since we are talking about a very dry and cold air mass moving into the region, expect snow to shut off pretty rapidly (by afternoon if not a bit sooner).

Current forecast models as of Saturday evening show Marion and surrounding counties with the potential of seeing our first significant snow accumulation amounts of the winter season next week.

Some complications and unknowns do exist in these type of patterns. I’m pretty confident that we’ll see some winter weather, however, exact totals are a bit tougher to call. In a lot of these cases, the dry air arrives sooner than expected limiting the amounts a bit. However, if we get a couple of pretty heavy bursts we’ll certainly see enough to coat the ground. Travel problem will also develop.

Cold temperatures and wind chill values as low as the single digits can be expected late Tuesday and into Wednesday morning. Most locations will likely drop into the upper teens for Wednesday morning.

Remember to bring in your pets and also check on your elderly neighbors to make sure they have adequate and safe heat.

Stay with MarionCountyMessenger.com on Facebook and Twitter for the latest on this winter weather situation and any closings, delays, and road condition information that may impact your work week.

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