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Weather service warns of icy early-morning road conditions

March 3rd, 2014 9:44 pm by Nathan Baker and Max Hrenda, Press Staff Writers

Weather service warns of icy early-morning road conditions

In light of Monday's wintry weather, Johnson City Schools dismissed early on Monday afternoon.

While the latest round of winter weather is expected to conclude by this afternoon, the National Weather Service said early morning road conditions may not be ideal.

Sam Roberts, a meteorologist at the NWS’ Morristown office, said snow accumulation will likely be light, but roads could be treacherous for the morning commute.

“Most areas will only see a dusting to a half-inch, but freezing on the roadways could be an issue overnight and in the morning as temperatures drop down into the teens,” Roberts said.

According to forecasters, temperatures should reach the mid-40s during the day today, and Wednesday should be even warmer. Still, even with impending warm temperatures and less than an inch of total snow accumulation, state and local agencies closed their doors under threat of winter weather.

Statewide, Gov. Bill Haslam declared a state of emergency for Monday, and all non-emergency-related offices closed for the day. Locally, the Johnson City Schools system began Monday on a two-hour delay before ultimately dismissing early. Carter County Schools sent its children home at noon on Monday, and began today’s school day on a two-hour delay.

Although the area suffered from less than an inch of snow accumulation, Elizabethton/Carter County Emergency Management Agency Director Andrew Worley said the school systems’ decisions to shorten their days might be because of the region’s recent bouts with wintry weather.

“We’ve had a couple of pretty good events so far this year that did impact travel,” Worley said. “A lot of times, I think, those big events cause us to be a little more on our toes for the next one. Right now, we’re conditioned for those big events.

“For them, it’s better safe than sorry.”

Local schoolchildren and Tennessee office workers across the state went home early in front of the advancing snow and falling temperatures, but Tennessee Department of Transportation crews were out in force overnight, battling slick roadways.

TDOT Region 1 Community Relations Director Mark Nagi said drivers were treating bridges, overpasses and road surfaces on all state routes in the Northeast region, and would continue to monitor the weather into the night.

“The trucks are loaded and on the roads,” he said. “We’ll stay on the job as long as we’re needed.”

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