According to local storm reports issued by the National Weather Service, there were 5.1 inches of accumulation at Tri-Cities Regional Airport as of 8 a.m., while reports from the public indicated as much as seven inches in Kingsport .
Early Thursday morning a trained spotter had reported 7 inches in Gate City, Va., while 11 inches was the total near Jonesborough. The Tennessee Department of Transportation's Smartway Map has labeled most major thoroughfares east of Interstate 26 as "extremely hazardous." Interstate 81 and I-26 itself share the same designation, as does Highway 93. The majority of Highway 11W west of Kingsport has patches of ice and snow, according to TDOT. As of 8:30 a.m. Highway 11W between Kingsport and Bristol was mostly
one lane of slush covered roadway in each direction. There were also
sections that were completely covered with packed snow.
Morning observations by the Times-News indicate most primary roads within Kingsport city limits are lined with slush and patches of ice and snow. Sullivan County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart adds that secondary roads in the county are for the most part completely covered. Travel is discouraged unless absolutely necessary. The Virginia Department of Transportation's Bristol office reported at 6:30 a.m. that the majority of highways in Southwest Virginia are snow covered, slick and hazardous.VDOT strongly advised that all non-essential travel be postponed until road conditions improveInterstates 81 and 77 were reported snow covered and slick, as well as the majority of primary routes in the region. Many primary and secondary routes in areas where almost a foot of snow fell Wednesday into Thursday morning -- such as Washington, Grayson, Wythe and Bland Counties -- are extremely hazardous with the possibility of drifting snow.VDOT crews and contractors are responding with about 750 pieces of equipment deployed across the 12 counties of the Bristol District. VDOT's goal is to make all roads passable within 48 hours after the storm ends, and snow was still falling Thursday morning.VDOT's 511 travel website www.511virginia.org is updated in real time with weather and road conditions for all highways in Virginia. View the entire list of roads closed due to the storm, sortable by county, at http://www.511virginia.org/mobile/?menu_id=conditions.
A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 4 p.m. for most of the region. Snow is expected to taper off this afternoon, with additional accumulation possible up to that point. The NWS warned that hazardous travel conditions will probably exist throughout the day, with refreezing of roads likely to occur after sunset.For the latest weather conditions, statements and forecasts visit the NWS.
Staff writers Rain Smith and Stephen Igo contributed to this report.
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