Rain, snow, repeat

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SUMMARY

Expect rain showers to move in during the day today. I still think the bulk of the rain will hold off until after noon, so keep those umbrellas and rain jackets handy. The front will pass through this afternoon, as well, and that will send temperatures to slowly dropping. I think by sunset (~5-6:00 pm) we could be looking at a rain/snow mix around the plateau. The transition to all snow will occur from northwest to southeast, with folks around Livingston seeing it first around 6:00 pm and Crossville around 9:00 pm.  These times are not set in stone, so be aware that the snow could either slow down or speed up as we go through the day. Any leftover moisture on the roads tonight will freeze, so be aware of that. I expect about 1/2″ of snow accumulation, with some isolated locations picking up an inch.  We get a break Friday before our next system threatens Saturday night. Notice that I put Saturday night’s low temperature in red. That will be crucial in determining the impacts from that system. Right now, models, and most of the guidance, are suggesting that this will be a very cold rain with snow mixed in and temperatures hovering around the 33-degree mark (too close for comfort). However, you folks up around Jamestown and Livingston may be hovering at that freezing mark, leading to some accumulation. This event is right on the line between wet snow and plain cold rain. If I had to make a call right now, I’d say that folks south of I-40 will see plain rain, folks between I-40 and Jamestown would see a rain/snow mix with little or no accumulation, and folks north of Jamestown would see some snow accumulation. All of this changes to plain rain for everyone during the day Sunday, before changing back to light snow Sunday night with less than one inch of snow accumulation.

DISCUSSION

This remains a very tricky forecast, folks. It looks like clouds will hold us in the mid 40s today, so we’ll need at least a 15-degree temperature drop to get us to the freezing mark. I think that could occur by 9:00 pm or so. I may have to update these times in the afternoon update today, as I see how the front is progressing during the day. Snowfall accumulations should be on the light side, with many of us seeing half an inch and some of us possibly picking up an inch or so. It all depends on how much moisture is leftover by the time we drop to the freezing mark. Snow could fall rather heavily when it begins,  with big wet snowflakes, so be aware of that.

This system gets out of here and we get a break on Friday, with highs likely not getting above freezing, especially if we have any snow on the ground. Then, the next headache blows in here for Saturday. It’s looking more likely that most of us will see rain mixed with snow and temperatures hovering just above freezing, which would prevent any snow accumulation. However, it’s just too close to call right now. If models continue to trend warmer for Saturday night, and overnight lows look to be in the mid to upper 30s, then I’ll have to drop the wintry mix altogether and just go with cold rain.

All of us will be getting plain rain on Sunday before the precip ends as light snow or snow flurries again Sunday night. I’m not sure we’ll get anything out of this, but the potential is there for a dusting to an inch. I’ll keep an eye on that for ya!

Whew! This is a complicated forecast and you’ll need to stay tuned, for sure! If you have travel plans for tonight or tomorrow morning, be aware that you may need to allow yourself some extra time. The same is true for Saturday night and Sunday night/Monday morning.

Models are trending warmer with the systems that we have coming next week, so the chances for wintry precip next week are dwindling.

Yesterday, I was telling you about the horrific winter storm that struck Middle TN in 1951. If you’ll recall, when I left off yesterday the entire mid-state was under nearly 2″ of ice and even more ice, which changed to wet snow, had started falling yesterday. Today, Feb 1, 1951, heavy snow continued to fall.  By the end of today, Middle TN was completely paralyzed under a foot of snow and ice. Keep in mind, the worst ice storm Nashville had ever seen was underneath 10 inches of heavy wet snow. Travel was absolutely impossible and every powerline in Nashville was on the ground. Every…single…powerline. Even rail traffic came to a complete standstill. This storm would be remembered as the Great Blizzard.

One lady in Nashville wrote in her diary, “It seemed like the lights were going out all over the world. Back we go to wood burning cook stoves and using kerosene lamps……This ice is a deluge the proportions of which one would not think the sky capable.”

And still, things would get even worse tomorrow! I’ll have more on that in tomorrow morning’s blog.

You all have a great day and I’ll keep you posted on tonight’s snow!

Oh, and tomorrow is groundhog day. How do I feel about that crazy whistle pig and his “predictions”? You’ll find out tomorrow! (ha)

Below is a map of the current winter advisories currently in effect (at 8:30 a.m.). Advisories are expected to be issued for more of the plateau later today. Just as I was putting this together, the NWS Morristown issued winter weather advisories for Morgan and Scott Counties for 1-2″ of snow tonight. The Nashville NWS office covers Cumberland and Fentress Counties and they have said that they will likely issue advisories for us a bit later. I’ll let you know when they do!

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