“It’s still early,” said Danny Gant, National Weather Service meteorologist in Morristown around 8:30 a.m. Sunday. “It just got started three or four hours ago.”
Gant said even though the snowfall mostly appeared to be light as it came down, it was still accumulating. He said there could be spurts. He said the prediction of accumulation was about “seven to nine inches” for the Tri-Cities region.
“The further east you get toward Johnson County, it’s going to be higher,” Gant said. “It did right what we’re thinking.”
Washington County/Johnson City 911 Director Greg Matherly said dispatchers had reports of a few trees down and some accidents, but nothing major.
“One of the good things is it’s Sunday so we don’t have as much traffic,” Matherly said. “Everybody made it to work ... that was one of my concerns earlier.”
Matherly said the said the best thing residents can do is stay home.
“Our advice is to stay home and avoid travel,” he said. “If you do travel, be prepared. As the day goes on and the accumulation progresses, we’re always concerned about that.”
Keith Swift, general supervisor for the Johnson City street department, said salt truck crews started working the roads around 3 a.m.
“It doesn’t look like we’ve done a lot because it’s been snowing,” all morning, he said around 8:30 a.m. “We have cameras where we can look at certain intersections. I can see some black pavement on University Parkway, Bristol Highway and part of North Roan Street.”
That’s not to say the roads are clear, he emphasized, and added that residents should stay home unless absolutely necessary.
“We’ve only been doing the main roads,” he said. “We haven’t been on any side roads or neighborhoods.”
The city prioritizes streets into three categories. Priority One streets are main thoroughfares and get the first attention.
“There are a few cars here and there, but I don’t think anybody needs to be out unless they absolutely need to,” he said.
Sgt. Coit Dixon, a Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy, said the major county highways, U.S. Highway 11E and Tenn. Highway 36, were down to one lane and all secondary county roads were covered.
“The county is out and TDOT is working,” Dixon said. “Luckily, a lot of people are staying home but we still have people out and about. If its not an emergency, they need to just stay home so they don’t put their lives in danger or the first responders who have to respond.”