The forecast of a possible winter storm hitting the region Friday has already begun to affect schedules for local schools, governments and events.Both Sullivan County and Hawkins County Schools have cancelled all classes for Friday. Both Scott County Public Schools and Wise County Public Schools also announced they will be on a 2-hour delay Friday morning. A decision on whether or not to close schools in those counties will be made once conditions are surveyed in the morning.All Scott County government offices, including court clerk’s offices, are scheduled to open at 10 a.m., weather permitting. Wise County’s government offices will also open two hours later at 10 a.m., with a decision on whether they will open for the remainder of the day coming around 8:30 a.m.In addition to those decisions, New Vision Youth Martin Luther King, Jr. Gospel Caroling, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26, has been cancelled due to the impending inclement weather.Gospel Fest, originally scheduled for Jan. 25, and the H.O.P.E. Pancake Breakfast, scheduled for Jan. 26, have been postponed because of the predicted ice and snow. The new date for Gospel Fest is Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m. at the Renaissance Center, 1200 E. Center St., in Kingsport. The Pancake Breakfast will be from 8 to 10 a.m., March 23, at Applebee's, 1661 E. Stone Dr. If you have a ticket for the pancake breakfast, it will be honored in March.The High School Honor Band Festival, scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday (Jan. 25-26) and hosted by the Department of Music at East Tennessee State University, has also been cancelled. There are no plans to reschedule this year’s festival.
Update: 2 p.m.
Kingsport’s Streets and Sanitation department began preparing this morning for a winter storm that is expected to move through the region Friday, bringing with it sleet and snow.
Crews pretreated roads with a salt brine, but they also have plans to spread salt.
"When it looks like precipitation or snow is imminent, we’ll start pre-treating with regular salt to get a jump on the storm," said Ronnie Hammonds, manager of the S&S department. "If people notice thin white streaks in the roadway, that’s where we’ve pre-treated."
Kingsport has about 25 pieces of equipment it uses for snow removal during the winter season, including four-wheel drive pick-up trucks with snow plows and spreaders, dump trucks with snow plows and spreaders, trucks with liquid (salt brine) pre-treatment equipment and in worst case scenarios, a backhoe and road grader for deep snowfalls.
A strong low pressure system approaching our region late Thursday night is expected to bring a wintry mix of sleet, snow and ice to the area through Friday, prompting a winter storm watch from the National Weather Service.
The NWS Forecasting Station in Morristown, Tenn., reports a possibility of "significant icing" in the event. In Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia the precipitation is expected to begin as snow and sleet, gradually mixing with or changing to freezing rain.
The NWS says between two or three inches of snow accumulations are possible, with ice accumulations potentially around a tenth of an inch.
The precipitation is expected to begin moving into portions of the region late tonight then becoming widespread after sunrise Friday morning. It may change to all rain before ending late Friday afternoon or early evening.
For the latest forecast and weather statements visit the National Weather Service.