One local braves the cold to grab grocery necessities Monday as arctic weather slammed the region. (Dave Boyd/Johnson City Press) (Gallery photos by Lee Talbert, Ron Campbell and Dave Boyd)
As promised, frigid temperatures gripped Northeast Tennessee early Monday morning and showed no signs of loosening as residents bundled up to stay warm.
But warmer weather is on the way, the National Weather Service said. Meteorologist Tim Doyle said by Friday, the daytime temperature will reach 50 degrees.
In the meantime, however, Northeast Tennesseans should continue to brace for single-digit temperatures.
“The temperatures are still falling slowly,” Doyle said at mid-afternoon Monday. “We’ll see clearing skies by morning with a slight chance of flurries,” and the overnight temperature into this morning will hit close to 0 degrees with a 15-25 mph wind.
The high today will be 14-17 degrees, Doyle said.
Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesman Mark Nagi said road crews were out en force Monday treating roads.
“We haven’t received reports of significant issues on roadways, even with temperatures falling,” Nagi said. “TDOT crews are still on the job and will treat roadways as needed (Monday night) and (today), for as long as the threat of winter weather is present. As temps fall tonight, that will have an effect on our ability to treat roadways, and we are recommending that if they don’t have to drive, that they should stay at home.”
Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal said his officers assisted several motorists overnight Sunday after they became stranded due to the weather. Still, his officers responded to only six wrecks that happened between midnight and mid-afternoon Monday.
He said local media spreading the word about road conditions could have played a role in the smaller number of crashes.
“Last night we had a lot of slick roads and the temperature dropped real quick on us. Our officers were in four-wheel drives (Sunday night) ... when we find a slick spot, we’re calling the highway department to come out and treat the area,” Graybeal said.
Officials urged residents to stay home unless they have to get out in the cold.
Animal activists also urged pet owners to provide warm shelter — preferably inside — for their animals. Outdoor animals should also have fresh water available to them as well.