Officials took a forward look Thursday afternoon, dismissing city and county schools for today as the impending event continued to build. It will continue to affect eastern Tennessee throughout the day.
Schools Safety Coordinator Scotty Hernandez said Thursday the timing bubble coupled with projected temperatures and precipitation type were all considered by directors of schools.
At 7 a.m. today, the thermometer dipped below the freezing mark in areas of Bradley County. A weather station located at Prospect Elementary School reported 33 degrees while Ocoee reported 31 degrees and Meigs County stood at 29.
An Ice Storm Warning was issued farther north this morning, according to Anthony Cavallucci of the National Weather Service.
Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency officials issued a Winter Storm Watch and Freezing Rain Advisory from NWS.
According to Cavallucci, the system was expected to invert. Cold temperatures which settled into the valleys and warm air aloft were expected to create the freezing rain and icing conditions which are a threat to trees and utility lines.
Cavallucci also predicted Thursday between .15 and .30 inch of frozen precipitation could fall and collect on trees and power lines.
Officials with Tennessee Department of Transportation and local street and road departments pre-empted the possible icing event by coating roadways.
“Off to the north toward Knoxville, we issued an Ice Storm Warning. Freezing rain and sleet is still possible today in Bradley County,” Cavallucci said this morning.
“We expect temperatures to warm up, then as the day progresses and temperatures begin to fall again, we can possibly see more freezing rain or sleet this evening. We can’t be exact on the timing, but in Bradley County it could transition to freezing precipitation between 5 and 9 p.m.,” he added.
A Nixle.com alert from CBCEMA indicated Bradley County government offices would open at 10 a.m.
According to the NWS forecast, a high of 39 degrees and gusty winds could be present today and up to three-tenths of an inch of ice accumulation is possible. Precipitation potential stands at 100 percent today, dropping to 30 percent into Saturday. Overnight temperatures are expected to fall below 32 degrees and could cause black ice conditions as well.
CBCEMA Administrative Officer Curtis Cline said Thursday that residents in the surrounding counties should pay attention to the possible impending icing event as it progresses.
“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.