Rain could change to a wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet and then possibly snow as the temperature drops overnight and Thursday morning, forecasters said.
Anderson County Schools and Clinton City Schools will be closed Thursday, March 5.
Forecasters said rain associated with a cold front will continue over the area through tonight. Arctic air will move in behind the front while the precipitation is ongoing, plunging surface temperatures to below freezing especially over the Cumberland Plateau and southwest Virginia overnight, the National Weather Service in Morristown said.
“The push of the arctic air will continue eastward through the southern Appalachians Thursday morning,” the forecast said. “The rain will change to a wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet. These conditions will persist for a few hours before changing over to all snow.”
The forecast at about 3:50 p.m. Wednesday showed a mix of snow, sleet, and ice in parts of East Tennessee, southwest Virginia, southeast Kentucky, and part of western North Carolina.
Here’s the NWS forecast near Oak Ridge:
Overnight: Rain before 4 a.m., then rain and sleet. Low around 30. North wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent. Total nighttime sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Thursday: Freezing rain and sleet before 2 p.m., then snow and sleet likely. Temperature falling to around 26 by 3 p.m. North wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. New ice accumulation of around a 0.1 of an inch possible. New snow and sleet accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Thursday night: A slight chance of snow and sleet before 8 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. North wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.
Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 38. Wind chill values between 5 and 15. North wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light and variable in the afternoon.
Friday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 23. Calm wind.