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.
Forecasters said rain and snow on Wednesday morning could change to only snow by Wednesday afternoon. The snow is expected to taper off by Thursday morning.
Hazardous driving conditions are expected to develop by Wednesday afternoon as snow begins to accumulate on roads, the NWS said.
“Conditions will likely continue to deteriorate by the evening and overnight,” forecasters said.
After it hits the Southeast, the winter storm is expected to move into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
“A very complex weather pattern is taking shape across the southern U.S. and is expected to bring a mixture of winter weather hazards, including heavy snow and freezing rain, across the South and Southeast Tuesday into Wednesday before moving up the Eastern Seaboard, where it will affect parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Wednesday into Friday,” the Weather Service said.
Forecasters said the most favored area for heavy snowfall will be the east Tennessee and western North Carolina mountains, where between six to nine inches is possible.
But, “the exact amount of snowfall for a given area will depend how quickly the colder air arrives on Wednesday coinciding with the onset of the heaviest precipitation,” forecasters said.
Forecasters are calling for a major, historic ice storm to hit Georgia and Atlanta, which was paralyzed by a snowstorm two weeks ago. Atlanta residents have already stripped stores bare, CNN reported.