Brutally cold temperatures and even colder wind chills are in store during the next few days as cold air continues to dip into the South.
That was evident going into the early evening hours Thursday as snow flurries fell. A low of 16 degrees was recorded in the Chestuee community, with a wind chill of 6.
Cleveland and Bradley County school officials have been notified to prepare for students to return to school next week and have been advised by Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency officials to watch for freezing water lines.
“We will continue to monitor all road conditions as well,” said CBCEMA Director Troy Spence.
Overnight lows into the upper teens prompted Bradley County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies to be on guard for black ice conditions due to precipitation which fell Thursday evening.
Gusty winds up to 25 mph or greater helped dry many roadways. Charleston Police reported icy conditions at Interstate 75 Exit 33 in Charleston and were monitoring conditions while Tennessee Department of Transportation officials treated roadways to clear icy spots.
Higher elevations could expect gusts up to 40 mph today.
During a weather briefing at the CBCEMA office Thursday morning, National Weather Service meteorologist George Mathews said wind chills will be zero or slightly below for many locations in Tennessee.
Travel delays are possible, especially in higher terrain and a possibility of trees falling and power outages could keep utilities crews as well as law enforcement busy.
Mathews also noted that another weather system Sunday could also present a rain-snow mix.
His predictions are possibly single-digit temperatures by Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.
Schools return to session Wednesday, after the long holiday break.
According to the NWS in Morristown, temperatures may possibly not rise above freezing until Saturday afternoon, when a high of 43 is forecast.
Precipitation possibilities return Sunday, then they plunge toward the single digits during the early part of the week.
Tom Collins, Bradley County Road superintendent, said his department is prepared for any snow or ice event.
“We have the capability of equipping up to a dozen vehicles. At this point, we have five set up,” Collins said.