Bob Kalonick, owner of Plaques Etc. on Center Street, cleans snow from his parking lot early Thursday. Photo by David Grace.
A blast of winter weather has covered the region this morning, creating treacherous roadways in many areas and altering schedules for the majority of schools -- including a rare closing at East Tennessee State University. Kingsport courts have also been closed.
According to the National Weather Service Morristown office, a winter storm warning is in effect through mid-afternoon for East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Snow accumulations of several inches are possible, as well as moderate ice accumulations.
Accumulations are predicted to range from a trace up to a half-inch per hour. Total accumulations of up to four inches are possible in higher elevations. Motorists are urged to use extreme cautions when travelling, as bridges and overpasses will become covered with snow and ice -- and slick.
A winter weather advisory is in effect for the regions until 10 a.m. Forecasters say an area of low pressure over the Northern Gulf will move northeast towards our region. Combined with a ridge of high pressure that's already in place over the mid-Atlantic states, widespread precipitation is expected to continue.
Beginning as snow, precipitation is expected to transition to sleet and then freezing rain and rain later Thursday morning and afternoon. As of 8 a.m, some areas were already experiencing the transition.
Forecasters expect all forms of precipitation to end by late this afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports the majority of Tennessee experienced rain this morning. Temperatures at dawn hovered just above freezing across most the state, with precipitation ending except for in our region.
Areas of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberland Plateau had seen a mix of snow and rain overnight into Thursday, but it changed to all rain before ending.