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.
The Weather Service said the heaviest snow will fall from central New York to the Massachusetts coast. Blizzard conditions are possible for eastern Long Island and the Massachusetts coast.
CNN reported that nearly 100 million people are in the storm’s path, affecting about one-third of the country.
“Bitter cold will moved into the Midwest and East following the storm,” the Weather Service said.
Forecasters in Morristown have issued a hazardous weather outlook for parts of southwest North Carolina, East Tennessee, and southwest Virginia. The affected area includes Anderson, Campbell, Loudon, Knox, Morgan, Roane, Scott, and Union.
Forecasters said an area of low pressure developing across the lower Mississippi River Valley will move northeast into the southern Appalachians, producing widespread precipitation. Then, an arctic cold front moving across the region this afternoon will pull much colder air into the southern Appalachians, changing the precipitation to snow by late this afternoon and evening.
A significant snowfall is possible across the area late today and tonight, with moderate to heavy snow accumulations over the mountains of southwest Virginia and the far eastern Tennessee mountains, generally at or above 2,500 feet. Light snow accumulations are possible across the plateau, northern and central Tennessee Valley, and Cherokee and Clay counties of North Carolina.
Besides the snow, very cold air will move into the region from Thursday through Saturday, with lows in the teens and lower 20s, and highs Friday in the 20s and lower 30s, the Weather Service said.
The cold air, combined with brisk northwest winds between 15 and 30 mph Thursday night, will produce wind chills between -5 and 5 degrees across the higher elevations and single digits elsewhere.
Another wintry system will affect the region Sunday and Sunday night, with light snowfall accumulations possible Sunday night across the higher elevations above 2,500 feet, forecasters said.