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Official snow total Tri-Cities Aiport, 9.7 inches, breaks 49-year December record

Becky Campbell • Dec 10, 2018 at 7:26 PM

 What turned out to be a record snowfall in Tri-Cities weather history will soon just be a memory as the temperature rose Monday to melt much of the snow that covered area roads.

The official snowfall total, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown, was 9.7 inches at Tri-Cities Airport. But that wasn’t the whole story as residents across the region reported as much as 18 inches of snow. Still, the 9.7 inches broke the December snowfall record set in 1969 at 8.7 inches.

The next problem the area will face will be ice as the temperature Monday night was expected to drop into the teens. 

“The rest of the week we’ve got drier air coming in, skies gradually clearing to partly cloudy with lower temperature in the 20s,” said National Weather Service Meterologist Tod Hyslop.

 He said Tuesday and Wednesday should be drier and sunny with the temperature reaching into the 40s.

“There’s a higher pressure building in and a drier northeasterly component,” he said. “Thursday into Friday there is another low pressure system moving into the area. It looks like warmer air, mid- to upper 40s on Wednesday and lower 50s Thursday.”

By Friday, rain will move into the area, Hyslop said, and “we could bounce up into the low 50s,” before the rain tapers off.

The weather wreaked havoc for many, including those who lost power and had trouble driving on slick roads. Most people stayed home, but for some, their job required them to be out driving.

Terri McKeehan, 64, a Johnson City Press district manager for newspaper carriers is set to retire in April, but she’ll have to get through one more winter of deliveries first.

“One of my carriers got down in a driveway,” McKeehan said. “He thought he could go down there and get back out, but he couldn’t get back out. He sat there for four hours waiting on a wrecker to come.”

“All the carriers came. Most of us — because I’m delivering, too — didn’t finish, so we went back out later and finished. But we did an awesome job (Sunday) and today.”

“(Sunday) morning was probably one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time. The roads were horrible. It took some of us all day,” she said of her 21 years on the job. “Last year we had one day that was 7 inches, but then it was gone.”

“We did the best we could.”

The Tennessee Department of Transportation traffic map on its website shows where roads are still treacherous. The TDOT Smartway link  at www.https://smartway.tn.gov/traffic gives real-time data for drivers.

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