People who can’t remember snow this early in the year nailed it.
Derek Eisentrout, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Morristown, said Tuesday morning’s snow ranked No. 3 as the earliest measurable snowfall at McGhee Tyson Airport in Blount County.
“If you go back, this will be the third earliest that we’ve had measurable snowfall. If you go back to 1991, you had 0.2 of an inch on Nov. 8. If you go back to 1913, you had 0.2 of an inch on the 9th,” he said.
That’s when considering 0.1 of an inch a measurable snowfall. On Tuesday, 1.7 inches fell at the airport.
“If you go to No. 3, which will become No. 4 after today’s totals are done, on Nov. 13 in 1904, we had 2 inches. That was very similar to this,” Eisentrout said Tuesday.
He noted that it is not unusual to find variation in November as the winter season approaches.
“November is a transition month. If you get into later November, it’s far more common to have snowfalls. Snow blowing around Thanksgiving is not too uncommon. It seems like this is a couple of weeks early,” he said.
Precipitation should be over for the week, and it will gradually warm up — but not until after today.
“For the most part, the roads shouldn’t be an issue Wednesday morning. I guess there could be a few isolated spots that didn’t get a lot of wind, but for the most part, the roads should be dried up. The biggest issue in the morning? It’s going to be wicked cold out there, temperatures in the teens with windchill about 10, 11, 12 degrees.”
Jeff Headrick, Blount County highway superintendent, said, “In the higher elevations, say over in Happy Valley, we’re a little bit colder, you can’t get as much daylight in. We treated those areas there. We rely heavily on the Sheriff’s Office and dispatch. We’re working areas specific to where we’ve had an issue, whether it be high snow or maybe a tree. This morning it wasn’t bad at all.”
While 600 tons of salt might sound like a lot, and that’s what Blount County has in stock, Headrick said that has to be able to account for 835 miles of road on the books.
“Actually, with the new roads we added this past summer, we’re setting close to 1,000 miles. Stretched out, that’d take you to Florida,” Headrick said.
Actually, it would be nearly a round trip to North Florida.
Cooperation of 911 dispatchers and Blount County deputies who now are allowed to carry small chainsaws in their cruisers, helps to keep roads clear, he said.
As for plants, John Wilson, Blount County agriculture extension agent, said that anything subject to freezing, if its still in bloom, should be covered with plant cloths or sheets.
“But as we go into the morning hours and we get a warm up, move those before we get too far into the day where we have lots of sunshine and a warm-up, because you don’t want to cook them. You wouldn’t want to leave them covered all day,” he said.
People should check on their pets, making sure they have adequate shelter and water if kept outdoors.
“With livestock, cattle, sheep and horses and such, they tend to be savvy. ... Make sure to break the ice on water buckets and water tubs,” he said.