On Monday, the NWS issued a winter storm watch for most of East Tennessee, calling for as few as 2 inches and as many as 8 inches of snow.
While the more mountainous parts of the region are expected to get the most snow, according to David Gaffin, a forecaster for the NWS station in Morristown, accumulation in lower-lying areas, including Washington County, is expected to be on the lower end of the forecast.
“Down in the valley, we’re expecting we could get 2 to 4 inches,” Gaffin said. “That would mainly come Wednesday night. Up in the mountains, there could be 4 to 8 inches of snow, with locally your higher mounts in the higher peaks.”
Despite the warning of wintry weather, Gaffin said by NWS estimations there is a chance the snow may be preceded by rain.
“We’ll see precipitation coming into the area on Wednesday,” Gaffin said, “but we may be warm enough on Wednesday afternoon that it may start off as some rain.”
When the sun sets and the temperature drops below freezing, however, Gaffin said the likelihood of snow increases. If the snow is preceded by rain, as the NWS has forecast, Gaffin said it could make for icy conditions.
“We’re not really expecting freezing rain,” Gaffin said. “There could be some ice Wednesday evening as we go back below freezing. Any lingering moisture on the roads could turn to ice.”
In the event of either ice or snow, the NWS predicts that temperatures should hover around freezing throughout most of Thursday before eventually warming on Friday.
“We will get above freezing, but it won’t be terribly warm (on Thursday),” Gaffin said. “Whatever is still lingering around on the ground should be gone by Friday.”