Note: This story was last updated at 4:08 p.m.
Main roads were mostly clear Wednesday morning, but many side streets were slippery and treacherous for driving or walking.
The wintry mix that fell Monday and lingered Tuesday appeared to have frozen in many places. And the snow that fell Wednesday morning covered that slick mix and dusted some roads that had earlier been cleared, such as Michigan Avenue in central Oak Ridge.
Milan Way, which runs parallel to Oak Ridge Turnpike in front of the Jackson Square post office, was skating-rink slick. And that was true of many other side streets across the city.
Heavily-traveled roads like Illinois Avenue, Emory Valley Road, and Oak Ridge Turnpike were mostly clear and easy to drive on. But even some well-traveled secondary streets such as Tennessee and Manhattan avenues, Robertsville Road, and West Outer Drive were a mix of cleared areas, light snow, and ice.
Update: Snow and ice on many side streets melted or partially melted on Wednesday afternoon, although there is some concern that road surfaces could refreeze as the temperature drops overnight.
The winter weather and hazardous road conditions have brought Oak Ridge and other communities across East Tennessee to a virtual standstill this week, with scores of schools, offices, government agencies, and businesses announcing closures starting Monday. All week, officials have been urging residents to not travel unless it’s essential. That seemed to be good advice again on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said secondary roads mostly remained ice- and snow-covered, and some primary roads have slick spots. On Wednesday, he said secondary roads are snow-covered with ice beneath the fresh snow from Wednesday morning and are extremely hazardous.
“Primary roads are mostly clear, except in the outlying areas, but all have slick spots,” Lucas said. He said temperatures will be well below freezing the next day or two, and roads will remain icy.
Travel is still not recommended unless it’s an emergency, Lucas said.
Deputies have responded to one traffic crash so far on Wednesday. There have been additional reports of downed trees, but as of Wednesday afternoon, the Clinton Utilities Board reported no power outages.
Anderson County Road Superintendent told WYSH Radio in Clinton that he has all of his workers out, working from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. or later, and all of the department’s snow plows are in operation.
Long said the coverage of ice and snow across the county is still pretty uniform, with no place particularly worse than any other, but he did lament that some of the areas where crews have been able to clear the roads after Monday’s winter weather event were being covered up again by the new snow falling on Wednesday.
Long also thanked citizens for their patience as his crews work to make roads passable, but he did warn this stuff isn’t going away any time soon.
In Clinton, Public Works Director Lynn Murphy said that snow plowing was proving to be largely ineffective on Wednesday morning. Roads that were clear Tuesday, according to Murphy, are currently frozen, and some hills are impassable without snow chains or four-wheel drive.
“Everyone is encouraged to stay in, but if you do have to be out, please be safe and smart,” WYSH Radio said.
The next few days are expected to be bitterly cold, with above-freezing temperatures not forecast until Saturday. See the forecast near Oak Ridge here.
See previous weather stories here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.