Weather: Schools, courts, offices closed; Wildcats sectional game now on Tuesday

Note: This story was last updated at 1:20 p.m.

Schools in Anderson County, Clinton, and Knox and Morgan counties are closed today (Monday) because of weather conditions and possible icing. And the Wildcats boys’ basketball sectional game in Kingsport, featuring Oak Ridge and Dobyns-Bennett, has been postponed to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Roane State Community College is closing its Campbell, Cumberland, Morgan, Scott, and Fentress county campuses due to icy roads. The campuses in Oak Ridge and Loudon, Knox, and Roane counties are open, but classes at the Clinton facility have been canceled.

The afternoon docket for the Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton has been canceled starting at 1 p.m. The afternoon docket for Anderson County Juvenile Court has also been canceled. And the Anderson County Courthouse closed at 1 p.m.

Tennessee officials said state offices will be closed the remainder of the day statewide, but mission-critical state employees will report to work as usual. [Read more...]

Most snow in about 15 years, Weather Service says

Snowman at Blankenship Field

Kids build a snowman at Blankenship Field on Thursday morning after more than eight inches of snow fell in Oak Ridge. From left are Killian Fillmore, Andrew Bivens, Gavin Hensley, and Liam Hensley.

Note: This story was last updated at 5:02 p.m. with more photos.

More than eight inches of snow fell in parts of Oak Ridge between Wednesday night and Thursday morning as a major winter storm hit the Southeast, and there were reports of as much as 10 to 12 inches in parts of Anderson County. A meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Morristown said it’s the most snow in East Tennessee in more than a decade.

“It’s been about 15 years since we’ve had a snow like this,” NWS Meteorologist David Hotz said. “This is definitely one of the best ones we’ve had in quite a while.”

The last snowfall of a similar magnitude that he could recall was in either 1998 or 1999.

Other big snowfalls include the historic 1993 storm and a winter storm in 1996 that dumped 15 to 17 inches.

More than eight inches of snow fell in parts of Oak Ridge between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and there were reports of as much as 10 to 12 inches in parts of Anderson County. A meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Morristown said it's the most snow in East Tennessee in more than a decade.  "It's been about 15 years since we've had a snow like this," NWS Meteorologist David Hotz said. “This is definitely one of the best ones we’ve had in quite a while.”  The last snowfall of a similar magnitude that he could recall was in either 1998 or 1999.  Other big snowfalls include the historic 1993 storm and a 1996 storm that dumped 15 to 17 inches.  The wet, heavy snow that started falling in Oak Ridge at about 7 p.m. Wednesday—it was the second round of snow that day—continued into Thursday morning. But with temperatures rising Thursday morning and the sun coming out, much of the snow was quickly melting.  Still, many roads, particularly side streets, still had slush on them, and there were a few slippery spots.  Crews from the Oak Ridge Public Works Department worked all day Wednesday, through the night, and into Thursday morning. They put down two layers of brine, or highly salted water, before the snow started and switched to salt trucks and snow plows once the snow started falling.  Public Works Department Gary Cinder said there were no major problems.  “It’s been a calm event," Cinder said. "It was a heavy snow. It was deep enough that we could push it, and it was wet enough that it would slide easily. It wasn’t sticking because of the brine.”  It might have helped that many people stayed off the roads as many offices, schools, and businesses closed early on Wednesday—if they hadn't already been closed for the day—and remained closed on Thursday.  Cinder said the Public Works Department was able to keep the main streets relatively clear. At times, the snow was heavy enough, though, that the snow was recovering roads that crews had already plowed.  “A lot of times, they just had to go back and forth," Cinder said.  Cinder said there were a few trees down and a few isolated power outages.  In Anderson County, Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Anderson County Highway Department were working to clear the snow, but roads remained hazardous.  "Travel is not advised," Lucas said in a Thursday morning e-mail. "We had several reports of minor accidents with cars off in the ditch or stuck in the snow, but since the snow didn't begin to fall until the evening hours, traffic was light. There also have been a few trees down as well."  Lucas said there were also some power outages overnight, but it appeared that the Clinton Utilities Board had most of those restored except for a few isolated areas.  He advised residents to check with CUB for details and said power outages can be viewed at http://outage.clintonub.com.  Deputies went to their "snow plan" Wednesday evening and are patrolling the county in four-wheel-drive vehicles.  "We are responding only to accidents with injury or those that are a significant traffic hazard," Lucas said.  Cinder said Oak Ridge has eight trucks outfitted with snow plows in the front and salt spreaders in the back. The city has two bins that, when fully loaded, can store 2,400 tons of salt. Oak Ridge has plenty of salt for the rest of the winter, he said.  There about 220 miles of roads in Oak Ridge and crews focus first on main streets and state routes such as Illinois Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike, then collector city streets such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida avenues, and then neighborhood side—if the snow lasts long enough and is heavy enough. The number of lane miles that crews have to take care of is double the road mileage because crews have to go up streets in one lane and then back down them in another.  Hotz, the meteorologist, said water on East Tennessee roads could re-freeze tonight as the temperature drops into the 20s and that could cause problems, including black ice, especially on secondary streets that still have slush. Drivers should use caution when driving tonight, especially on secondary streets, although well-traveled roads and interstates should be in good shape, Hotz said.  He said there could be another smaller storm system late Friday and Friday night. It could start with rain that changes over to snow, and there could be some light accumulations in East Tennessee valleys, but more snow is expected in the mountains, Hotz said.  The temperature is expected to warm back up into the 50s and lower 60s next week, Hotz said.

Crews from the Oak Ridge Public Works Department worked all day Wednesday and through the night into Thursday to clear roads, including South Illinois Avenue, as more than eight inches of snow fell in parts of the city.

The wet, heavy snow that started falling in Oak Ridge at about 7 p.m. Wednesday—it was the second round of snow that day—continued into Thursday morning. But with temperatures rising Thursday morning and the sun coming out, much of the snow was quickly melting.

Still, many roads, particularly side streets, still had slush on them, and there were a few slippery spots.

Crews from the Oak Ridge Public Works Department worked all day Wednesday, through the night, and into Thursday morning. They put down two layers of brine, or highly salted water, before the snow started and switched to salt trucks and snow plows once the snow started falling.

Public Works Department Gary Cinder said there were no major problems. [Read more...]

Weather Service warns of dangerous driving conditions as second round of snow starts

Snowfall at Oak Ridge Turnpike and Rutgers Avenue

Heavy snow falls in Oak Ridge at about 7 p.m. Wednesday, and weather officials are warning of extremely dangerous driving conditions across the region.

The National Weather Service in Morristown warned of extremely dangerous driving conditions across the region on Wednesday night as a second round of snow started in Oak Ridge.

The 7 p.m. evening snow followed an earlier round of snow at about 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The Weather Service said the snow and subfreezing temperatures in the region will create slick roads and travel concerns across the region.

“Roads will become extremely treacherous overnight as snow and ice continues to accumulate and build up,” forecasters said. [Read more...]

Significant snowfall possible, forecasters say; one to five inches locally

A major winter storm hitting the Southeast on Tuesday and Wednesday could dump three to five inches in the Tennessee Valley and southern Cumberland Plateau, and six to nine inches in the mountains, the National Weather Service in Morristown said.

Accumulations in Anderson and Roane counties could range between one and five inches from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning. Knoxville and Knox County are expected to get between three and five inches.

The forecast near Oak Ridge calls for a 20 percent chance of snow as early as Tuesday night, with a low of 26 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wednesday’s forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of snow all day, with a high of 36 and a low of 27. The chance of snow falls to 20 percent on Thursday, with a high of 43.

A local winter storm watch is in effect from 10 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday. [Read more...]

Widespread snowfall could taper off tonight

Sledding at Blankenship Field

A few people enjoy the snow near Blankenship Field on Tuesday evening.

Many schools, including in Oak Ridge, dismissed students early on Tuesday because of the snow, and Anderson County Schools will be closed on Wednesday.

(Update: Oak Ridge Schools will also be closed Wednesday.)

The snow that started late Tuesday morning is expected to continue through the evening in the valleys, tapering off around midnight in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown.

Snow and ice caused traffic problems on slippery roads across the region. Some cars and trucks had trouble driving up hilly roads in Oak Ridge. [Read more...]

Light snow in Oak Ridge on Saturday, slight chance of more through Monday

Light Snowfall in Oak Ridge

Light snow fell in Oak Ridge on Saturday morning, and the forecast calls for a sight chance of snow through Monday.

A light snow fell in Oak Ridge on Saturday morning, and there is a 20-30 percent chance of more snow on Sunday night and Monday.

Temperatures near Oak Ridge will continue to be cold, with a forecast low of 5 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday night, 4 on Tuesday night, and 11 on Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown.

The Weather Service said a cold front will quickly move through the southern Appalachian region tonight, producing light snow over southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee. Windy conditions are expected across the mountains through the early morning hours.

Frigid temps lead to high electrical demand; TVA asks for reduced consumption

Frigid temperatures are causing high demand for electricity across the Southeastern United States, the Tennessee Valley Authority said Thursday.

As a result, TVA is asking all electric power consumers—including residential, commercial, and industrial customers—to voluntarily reduce their use of electricity until Friday afternoon.

“Any reductions in electricity use can help ensure a continued supply of power to essential services throughout TVA’s seven-state service territory and avoid interruptions of service,” the public utility said in a press release. “All available generating resources are being used to meet the peak power demand.” [Read more...]

Snow possible Wednesday morning; winter weather advisory in East Tennessee

Snow is possible Wednesday morning as a cold front moves through East Tennessee.

Light snow accumulations are possible in the valley, with several inches possible in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown.

Forecasters said the winter storm is moving into the area from the plains late tonight, and rain is expected to change to snow within the first few hours. By rush hour Wednesday morning, much of the area will be receiving light to moderate snow, the Weather Service said.

“The system will slowly exit the area to the east, with snows lingering in the mountains into Wednesday night,” the NWS said. [Read more...]

Frozen sprinkler pipes burst, flood buildings across Oak Ridge

 Oak Ridge Fire Department at Heritage Fellowship

The Oak Ridge Fire Department responds to a report of a frozen sprinkler system that burst at Heritage Fellowship on Tuesday afternoon.

Frozen sprinkler pipes burst and flooded buildings across Oak Ridge on Tuesday as a frigid arctic air mass lingered over parts of the central and eastern United States.

Oak Ridge firefighters said it’s likely there will be more calls on Wednesday as temperatures rise and frozen pipes thaw.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley provided a list of buildings where frozen sprinkler systems had burst. They included St. Mary’s School, the back side of the Staples building, a building at the Pine Ridge office complex, Centennial Village Apartments, a U.S. Department of Energy building on Laboratory Road, UBS Financial on East Tennessee Avenue, Weatherford Mortuary, Courtyards at Briarcliff, and Heritage Fellowship on North Illinois Avenue. [Read more...]

TVA expects high electricity demand during cold wave

TVA Offices in Chattanooga

The Tennessee Valley Authority offices in Chattanooga are pictured above. (Photo courtesy TVA)

The Tennessee Valley Authority expects plunging temperatures from an arctic cold wave moving across the region will produce high demand for electricity.

TVA’s bulk electric system remains secure and stable at this time, a press release said.

“TVA has been monitoring and carefully preparing for this blast of potentially record-cold weather since last week,” TVA Chief Operating Officer Chip Pardee said. “We have taken proactive measures so the system remains robust and reliable for our customers and power users across the Valley.” [Read more...]

Snow, bitter cold from Sunday night through Tuesday; some schools closed

Weather forecasters are calling for snow and bitterly cold conditions across the region from Sunday night through Tuesday, and they said Monday night could be the coldest night in more than 10 years.

The National Weather Service in Morristown said a cold front will approach the area Sunday night, and rain will transition to snow in the late evening, with arctic air moving in behind the front.

Low temperatures from Monday night into Tuesday will range from -6 degrees Fahrenheit to around 5 degrees across the region. Dangerously cold wind chills are expected Monday through Tuesday morning. Wind chills will drop to 15 to 25 degrees below zero across the plateau and mountains, and between 5 and 15 degrees below zero over the valley. [Read more...]

Flurries fall in Oak Ridge as forecast calls for cold, snow

Early January Snow and Cold

Flurries fell in Oak Ridge early Thursday evening, and the weather forecast called for colder, snowy conditions as a major winter storm affects the eastern United States from the southern Appalachians to New England.

The National Weather Service in Morristown said there is a 60 percent chance of snow tonight near Oak Ridge, with a low of 16 degrees Fahrenheit.

Friday is expected to be mostly sunny and cold, with a high of 27 and a low of 17, but there is a 70 percent chance of rain or snow on Sunday and a 70 percent chance of snow on Monday. [Read more...]