There is a 100 percent chance of snow in the Oak Ridge area today as cold air moves into the southern Appalachians, turning rain showers into snow by this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown.
The rain will start turning to snow by about 2 to 3 p.m., and the precipitation should be all snow by about 4 to 5 p.m., said Derek Eisentrout, spokesperson for the National Weather Service in Morristown. He said the snow should start tapering off by 7 or 8 p.m.
The Weather Service doesn’t expect a lot of snow in the Oak Ridge area, forecasting about a one-inch accumulation.
A major concern for forecasters is the black ice that could be on roads tomorrow morning as temperatures plunge into the 20s overnight.
Eisentrout said temperatures are expected to drop to 36 by early afternoon today, to freezing by 3 p.m., and to 31 by 4 p.m. They’ll stay around freezing to about 10 p.m. and then drop into the 20s overnight.
He said temperatures should be back into the 40s by tomorrow afternoon, and the snow and black ice should be gone.
The National Weather Service forecast snowfall of 12 inches or more this afternoon and evening at higher elevations in southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.
Meanwhile, snowfall of one to four inches will be possible at lower elevations across much of the Tennessee Valley, especially across southwest Virginia, northeast Tennessee, and southwest North Carolina.
“Persons across the southern Appalachian region should be extremely vigilant of the latest forecast information, including watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service in Morristown, and prepare for the possibility of winter weather and accumulating snowfall across much of the region later today and tonight,” the Weather Service said.
Forecasters said people planning to travel from this afternoon through Friday, especially at higher elevations, should use extreme caution, pay attention to the latest road conditions, and pack a winter weather emergency kit.