Icing could cause problems beginning between 3 and 7 a.m. Friday. This morning, officials said the time frame of the event has moved to slightly later, and the wintry mix could begin around 7 a.m.
NWS forecasts indicated a wintry mix, believed to be mostly freezing precipitation, could blanket Bradley County and East Tennessee. A 90 percent chance exists, according to today’s forecast.
Data indicated the wintry weather could last six hours or better, depending on temperature shifts after noon Friday.
According to David Hotz, meteorologist with the Morristown office of the NWS, he and other meteorologists predicted a Winter Weather Watch would be issued Wednesday afternoon.
Less than an hour later, the prediction rang true.
Forecasters said, “This could be a very, very, very dangerous situation.”
Temperatures are expected to be several degrees below freezing as the front approaches from the southwest, sweeping through Texas and moving eastward through North Georgia and into East Tennessee.
“The eastern side of the state will be affected,” Hotz said.
According to Hotz, the mixed bag of precipitation will travel northeast into the upper part of Tennessee and snow will mix in.
For Bradley County, Hamilton and the surrounding areas, Hotz predicted Wednesday that rain, mixed with sleet, from 1/3 to 3/4 of an inch could fall.
Anthony Cavallucci, warning coordinator meteorologist with NWS, said today after new data was analyzed, the area is still expecting up to a fourth of an inch of possible freezing rain.
Ice could form on power lines, trees and roadways.
“We also expect a refreeze overnight,” Hotz said regarding Friday evening’s weather forecast as temperatures once again dip below the freezing mark of 32 degrees. The overnight low into early Friday is expected to be 28 degrees.
Bradley County Safe Schools Coordinator Scotty Hernandez said he will be in touch with both the city and county directors of schools to make a determination later today after another Web conference with the NWS forecasters and emergency managers with Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency.
Cavallucci said a quarter inch of freezing rain could cause problems with travel, trees and utilities.
Frozen precipitation is forecast to change over to rain after noon Friday, but the daytime high is expected to be 37 degrees.
“We are monitoring the possible icing event and will be working with local officials to determine any course of action needed,” said Curtis Cline, administrative officer for CBCEMA.
“We urge everyone to pay close attention to media reports and other outlets. If icing does occur, pay attention to the warnings,” he added.
Updates regarding the possibility of icing will be posted on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, according to Cline.
Cline also encouraged area residents to visit www.bradleyco.net, click on the EMA link and sign up for NIXLE.com alerts via cellphone or e-mail.