The tailing off of a brief snow shower Wednesday afternoon shouldn’t give a false sense of security, said local meteorologist Sam Roberts.
Roberts, reporting for the National Weather Service station in Morristown, warned those in the Johnson City area not to get the impression that they’d dodged a bullet with snow accumulation, saying most of it was still on its way.
“Everything is still on track,” Roberts said. “The heaviest stuff will be coming over night. If anything, I’ve actually seen some snow totals bump up a little bit a little west of (Johnson City).”
Immediately around Johnson City, Roberts said about six to eight inches could be expected with some of the outskirts and higher elevations catching a possible total around 11 inches. The cause is the low-pressure system getting caught in the foothills of the mountains, Roberts said, all the way from Gatlinburg to Northeast Tennessee, through Johnson City.
“The closer you get to the low-pressure system, the more you’re going to get,” Roberts said. “You guys (in Johnson City) are going to be getting the most snow.”
A winter storm warning for eastern Tennessee had been issued by the NWS in Morristown through today. Although snow will eventually subside after today, enough of it will have fallen, said Roberts, to cause trouble on roads into the weekend.
Some of the initial amount expected to fall will eventually melt when temperatures reach the mid-30s today, but when the mark on the thermometer drops again in the evening, the melted snow will freeze and make it difficult to use the roads until Saturday.
“It might be Friday or Saturday until all the roads are clear,” said Roberts.
Mark Nagi, a community relations officer with the Tennessee State Department of Transportation, issued TDOT’s evening report Wednesday, stating that roads were covered with slushy snow in Carter, Johnson, Unicoi and Washington counties, crews were treating them, and that Johnson County was the worst hit.
“Crews have been on the job since 7 a.m. this morning and all interstates and state routes have been pretreated before this winter weather event began,” Nagi said. “Crews are on their routes and will stay on their routes as long as necessary this evening and into the early morning hours.”
As of Wednesday night, few accidents were reported, aside from a vehicle going off the road on Leesburg Road in Jonesborough, in which the driver complained of neck and back pain. A dispatcher with Washington County 911 said the accident was remedied quickly. A single plow truck in Unicoi County also went off the road and was quickly recovered by another plow truck, something that a county dispatcher said happens more frequently than one might imagine in inclement weather.
Johnson City Schools also announced closure for today. The weather also closed the Johnson City Police Department records office earlier than usual, at 5 p.m. Wednesday, as were all non-essential city offices and services as of 2 p.m. Outside the city, it was announced that the town of Unicoi Town Hall would be closed through today as well.
In general, Roberts stressed caution to all through the next few days, saying that people should try to stay put in their homes until the weather gets better.
“There’s still a lot of snow to come,” Roberts said. “Don’t get tricked.”
Earlier version of this story
Johnson City Schools announced all locations will be closed on Thursday, Feb. 13.
As expected, snow began to fall in the early afternoon Wednesday. With many school classes and meetings either canceled or let out early and offices closed, people braved the roads and sidewalks in the blustery weather.
The National Weather Service station in Morristown had projected three to seven inches of snow to collect in Washington County, with upwards of 11 inches possible in neighboring Carter County.
In Johnson City:
The Johnson City Schools will be closed today and Thursday.
East Tennessee State University classes and offices closed at noon today.
Public Art Committee, scheduled for 5 p.m. today, is canceled.
Sister Cities International, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, is canceled.
City Hall and all non-essential city services closed at 2 p.m. today. There is no announcement about Thursday at this time. Citizens should call 911 in the event of an emergency. Please call 461-1645 to report a water or sewer emergency.
Memorial Park Community Center is now closed.
Johnson City Transit services will end at 4:15 p.m. today. Evening Job Access will be closed. Weather permitting, Transit services are expected to resume at 8:15 a.m. Thursday.
Johnson City Juvenile Court will be closed Thursday.
The VA Medical Center has closed all community-based outpatient clinics and the Knoxville Outpatient Clinic for Wednesday. This includes the Tennessee facilities in Rogersville, Morristown, Sevierville and Knoxville and Virginia facilities in Bristol, Norton, Marion, Vansant and Jonesville. The VA Medical Center in Johnson City will remain open today.
Jonesborough Municipal Court will be closed Thursday. Call 753-1053 to reschedule your court date .
The Jonesborough Genealogical Society has canceled Help Night on Thursday. It is rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 20 unless weather again changes the schedule!
The 2014 Landscaping Seminar sponsored by the Washington County Extension at the Farm Bureau building on Boones Creek Road, Jonesborough, on Thursday has been canceled. Attendees will receive notifications by mail on the reschedule date.
All Washington County public offices closed at 2 p.m. today and will be closed Thursday. Cases in General Sessions Court will be rescheduled. Call the the clerk's office at 788-1425 to get your new court date.
Both the Budget Committee meeting, scheduled for Thursday, has been canceled. There is no rescheduled meeting set yet.
The City-County Liaison Committee, scheduled for Thursday, has been canceled. It is rescheduled for March 27 at 5:30 p.m.
In Unicoi County:
The Unicoi County Courthouse is closing at 3 p.m. today and will be closed Thursday, Feb. 13. General Sessions Court cases scheduled to be heard tomorrow have been rescheduled for Feb. 20.
Unicoi County Schools will be closed Thursday
All Wellmont Health System Epic training classes starting after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, and starting at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, have been canceled. Please call 423-408-7146 for additional updates.
The career fair scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 13, from 7:30-11 a.m. and 4:30-7 p.m. at Holston Valley Medical Center has been postponed. It will be rescheduled to a date and time to be determined.