NWS calling for snow accumulation, very low temperatures

Published 6:03 pm Thursday, January 5, 2017

Star File Photo/Abby Morris-Frye  Winter weather can create hazardous driving conditions. Local emergency officials ask residents to avoid any unnecessary travel when roads are covered with snow and ice.

Star File Photo/Abby Morris-Frye
Winter weather can create hazardous driving conditions. Local emergency officials ask residents to avoid any unnecessary travel when roads are covered with snow and ice.

With some severe winter weather in the forecast this weekend, local officials are encouraging residents to be prepared in the event of an emergency.
“We have an arctic front moving in from the Northwest,” said Meteorologist Derek Eisentrout with the National Weather Service office in Morristown. “It’s going to spread stuff all over Elizabethton and Carter County.”
One system moved through the area Thursday evening and into the early morning hours on Friday. However, Eisentrout said a second system would follow quickly on its heels. While the Thursday night system brought little accumulation in the area, forecasters are calling for more snow with the front that will move in Friday afternoon.
“We could see four to six inches of snow in the lower elevations,” NWS Meteorologist Tim Doyle said following the NWS forecast update Thursday afternoon. In the higher elevations, such as Roan Mountain, Doyle said residents could see nine inches of snow.
A Winter Storm Warning has already been issued for the mountain areas of Northeast Tennessee ahead of Friday afternoon’s storm front, which is expected to arrive around 1 p.m.
In addition to the snow forecast, meteorologists are also predicting very low temperatures with these storm fronts.
“It brings a lot of cold air with it so we will see below freezing temperatures through Monday,” Eisentrout said.
According to the NWS advisory issued on Thursday, Carter County will see lows into the single digits over the weekend. The forecast high for Elizabethton and Roan Mountain on Friday is in the 30s.
Saturday morning the temperature in the lower elevations will be around 18 with a high climbing only into the mid-20s. The temperature in Roan Mountain Saturday morning will be around 11 degrees and will only climb into the mid-teens for the day’s high.
The overnight hours from Saturday night into Sunday morning will provide the lowest temperatures with the front with the lower elevations seeing a morning temperature of 5 degrees while the higher elevations will see “around zero” temperatures according to Doyle. The high on Sunday for the lower elevations is expected to reach the mid-20s and the higher elevations will reach the mid-teens.
With such low temperatures forecast, the Carter County Emergency Management Agency is cautioning residents to dress warmly to try to prevent any chance of frostbite.
“Dress in layers, lots of layers,” said EMA Operations Officer Billy Harrell. “Always try to protect your feet and hands especially.”
He also cautioned about other effects of being exposed to extremely low temperatures for any length of time.
“You can get delusional when your body temperature drops so much,” Harrell said.
Harrell urged residents to make sure their emergency kit is prepared.
“We tell everybody to try to keep an emergency kit ready for at least three days,” Harrell said.
Kits should include enough food and water for each person for three days as well as other important items. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends one gallon of water per person per day for emergency kits as well as a supply of non-perishable food.
Other items Harrell suggested for emergency kits include: a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio, flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries for radio and flashlight, first aid kit, wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, a can opener if your kit contains canned food, a three-day supply of any needed medications, and a three-day supply of pet food.
“Make sure your pets have shelter and water,” Harrell said. “If it’s cold, make sure to bring your pets inside for shelter.”
Road conditions can rapidly deteriorate due to falling snow and ice. In the event of bad weather, Harrell said he and other officials ask motorists not to drive unless it is an emergency or absolute necessity.
For those who feel they may have to leave their homes, Harrell recommends having extra blankets or jackets in the vehicle in case motorists become stranded.
“We encourage everyone to try to keep at least a half-tank of fuel in their vehicle in case there is an emergency,” he said.

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