Meteorologists at the Morristown National Weather Service office issued a Special Weather statement over the weekend regarding a possible winter weather system for the region.
According to the statement, a low pressure system is “forecast to track east across the Gulf states and as a result, accumulating snowfall is expected over the southern Appalachian region.
“At this time, the area with the highest chances of seeing snowfall will be in the Smoky Mountains, southwest North Carolina and southern portions of the Tennessee Valley, including Chattanooga,” the statement noted.
According to data from the NWS, snow could begin to fall around 10 p.m. Monday, lasting until 10 a.m. Tuesday, with the greatest chances being after midnight.
Temperatures during the time will drop from 35 degrees to 30 degrees, before beginning to climb to 33 by 10 a.m. Tuesday.
A brisk wind could also be associated with the possible storm.
In anticipation of the possibility of frozen precipitation over the next couple of days, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has begun pre-treating roads in hopes of avoiding the kind of traffic congestion that came two weeks ago when about 2 inches of snow — coupled with extremely cold temperatures — paralyzed much of the Southeast.
This included Cleveland and Bradley County where major arteries were clogged from parents trying to get to schools to pick up their children, as well as businesses that were shutting down early for the day due to the worsening conditions.
According to TDOT officials, trucks sprayed roads with brine Sunday and expected to repeat the process today. The latest forecasts call for rain with the possibility of snow by Tuesday or Tuesday night, and into Wednesday.
TDOT is treating interstates and state routes with a brine mixture made of beet juice and calcium chloride. A TDOT spokesperson said the beet juice helps the mixture to stick to the pavement, especially in light of forecasts that rain could be coming first.
Salt trucks will be joining the brine trucks, if needed.
In Cleveland and Bradley County, local crews also will be monitoring local conditions to determine the extent of road pre-treatment needed.
The latest forecast released by the National Weather Service for the Cleveland area, as of Monday morning, reads as follows:
“A chance of rain and snow before 1 p.m., then a chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 44. ... Chance of precipitation is 30 percent.
“Tonight, a slight chance of rain before 8 p.m., then a slight chance of rain and snow between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., then a slight chance of snow after 11 p.m. Cloudy, with a low around 30. ... Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.
“Tuesday, a chance of rain and snow before 2 p.m., then rain likely. Cloudy, with a high near 38. ... Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
“Tuesday night, a slight chance of rain before 9 p.m., then a chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 29. ... Chance of precipitation is 30 percent.
“Wednesday, snow likely before 2 p.m., then a chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 37. ... Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.
“Wednesday night, a chance of rain before 8 p.m., then a chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 27. Chance of precipitation is 50 percent.”