Kingsport Times News Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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UPDATE: Region braces for another icy breath of winter

March 2nd, 2014 7:20 pm by Stephen Igo

UPDATE: Region braces for another icy breath of winter

Updated at 8:30 p.m.

WISE — Driving conditions across Southwest Virginia could be a bit dicey beginning in the wee hours of Monday.

The latest winter storm front stretching from Texas across Tennessee and the Ohio Valley offers a swath of mixed precipitation potential across broad portions of Tennessee and Kentucky into West Virginia, with Southwest Virginia under a winter storm watch from 1 a.m. through 7 p.m. on Monday, with ice potential, particularly in the higher elevations.

Monday’s forecast for Kingsport from the National Weather Service in Morristown included a winter weather advisory from 4 a.m. to 3 p.m., calling for rain in the morning, then snow and freezing rain, becoming all freezing rain after 1 p.m. Temperatures are expected to fall to around 30 by 4 p.m. The chance of precipitation is 100% during the day, with ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch and snow accumulation of around an inch possible. The precipitation should taper off after 7 p.m., with an overnight low around 19. Tuesday should bring a return of the sun and highs in the 40s.

Just before noon on Sunday, with temperatures close to 60 degrees in Wise County, Virginia Department of Transportation Wise Residency Administrator Allan Sumpter said the residency’s snowplow/salt truck crews were to begin around-the-clock shifts beginning midnight Sunday.

What to expect was still anybody’s guess, but VDOT’s Wise Residency crews in Wise, Lee, Scott and Dickenson counties were preparing for whatever comes, Sumpter said.

“We’ve got different forecasts coming in. We’re seeing predictions of anywhere from 1 to 6 inches (of snow), it just depends on where you’re at. Our higher elevations forecast for Wise and Dickenson counties, we’re seeing anywhere from 1 to 3 inches. In Lee, about the same. And Scott, that’s kind of iffy at this point what the impacts will be there,” he said.

“We’re getting prepared for it. We will have our crews out tonight right around midnight. Things are projecting to start somewhere around 2 or 3 o’clock (Monday) morning. There could be some ice with that and snow at that time.”

Thermometers will plunge overnight Sunday into Monday morning, making the prospect of ice buildup on road surfaces and trees and power lines a big concern, Sumpter said.

“We have made arrangements for tree crews to stand by to deal with any type of falling trees or limbs and so forth, if need be,” he said.

“The ice could potentially cause more problems than the snow because motorists will not be able to see it as well. They can think the road is just wet and there could be ice on it,” Sumpter said. “I think our highs (Monday) are forecast to be 30 or 31 degrees and (overnight Monday into Tuesday) down to 9 or 10 (degrees) or so. So if we get anything, temperatures below freezing could impact travel on Monday, and possibly into Tuesday morning, particularly on the secondary roads.”

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The National Weather Service in Morristown has issued a winter weather advisory for parts of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia for ice, sleet and snow accumulations.

The advisory is in effect from 4 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday.

Ice accumulations of one-tenth of an inch will be possible, with some locations receiving up to two-tenths of an inch.

Rain will quickly change to sleet and freezing rain by daybreak Monday morning. The mixed precipitation will become mainly snow by Monday afternoon.

Power lines and tree limbs will freeze first and roads may rapidly become icy, particularly during and after the rush-hour commute.

A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow, sleet and/or freezing rain are expected or occurring, but accumulations are expected to be fairly light.

Driving and walking may be difficult on untreated roadways and sidewalks. Be prepared for snow- and ice-covered roads and limited visibilities.

If you must travel, slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination. 

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