The National Weather Service has issued winter weather advisories for the entire northern Cumberland Plateau and much of Tennessee; the remainder of the state is under a winter storm warning.
The winter weather advisories take affect at 1 p.m. (for Fentress, Pickett and Middle Tennessee) and 4 p.m. (for Scott, Morgan and East Tennessee), but those times are allowing for the start of precipitation to our south. Realistically, we won’t see snow here until later in the afternoon; perhaps even early evening. The bulk of the precipitation should hold off until after dark, then be well out of the way by the time most of us are waking up tomorrow.
Both advisories from both NWS offices (Nashville and Morristown) call for 2-4 inches of snow. However, those amounts are also weighted towards areas to our south. Here, the NWS in Nashville is calling for up to an inch of snow for the western side of the northern plateau; the NWS in Morristown is calling for 1-3 inches of snow for the eastern side of the plateau.
The good thing, if you’re snow-weary, is that this shouldn’t stick around long on the main roads. This won’t be a dry snow that blows away easily and melts easily; temperatures will warm sufficiently today to ensure that. In fact, models indicate snow ratios will generally be a little less than the standard 10:1. But we’re in late February now, and the high sun angle will begin to melt snow on roadways once it’s climbed high enough in the sky tomorrow, even though cloud cover and even some additional snow flurries or light snow showers are likely. And temperatures tomorrow are expected to get slightly above freezing, which will help, as well.
Unfortunately for school administrators and basketball coaches, that won’t necessarily help their schedules. Schools across East Tennessee are likely to be closed tomorrow, if this precipitation comes to fruition. For Scott County schools, that means the third day that will have to be made up (and Friday will be the fourth day, since schools will likely remain closed then, too). For Oneida schools, it means they’ll be down to a single built-in snow day. And for basketball coaches trying to finish tournaments on schedule, it means a nightmare.
For strict numbers, both the GFS and the NAM are now generally showing less than two inches of snow for the northern plateau. The 0z NAM was showing almost four inches of snow, but the NAM has been quite erratic with this system (remember, 24 hours ago we were talking about the NAM showing nearly 7 inches of snow for the northern plateau).
There is a fairly high bust potential with this system. If it’s a bit stronger than modeled, it’s likely to trek a little further north and be a little more robust, which would increase snow accumulations across the northern plateau. But it’s also very possible that the moisture will be shunted south and we’ll see little or no snow here . . . which I don’t think anyone would complain about.
A look ahead: The good news is that this finally ends Ol’ Man Winter’s stranglehold on the region. We aren’t going to jump straight into spring, but winter weather currently looks unlikely for the next couple of weeks. Another blast of arctic air looks likely a week into March (8-9 days from now) but it looks like it’ll be short-lived. The GFS is showing temps in the 60s on the horizon, though I wouldn’t put too much stock in that at this point.