The first Thanksgiving accumulating snow in recent history could be in store for Oneida, Huntsville and the northern Cumberland Plateau if weather forecasts hold true.
Meteorologists say a persistent Tuesday rainfall will turn to snow late Tuesday into early Wednesday morning, resulting in two-to-three inches of accumulation along the northern plateau.
The National Weather Service's field offices in Morristown, Nashville and Jackson, Ky., issued winter weather advisories for the entire region of East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky Tuesday morning, each forecasting storm totals of up to three inches of snow for Scott and neighboring counties.
The advisory issued by the Morristown weather field office of the NWS, which covers Scott County and the rest of East Tennessee, does not take affect until midnight Tuesday night. However, the advisory issued by the Nashville weather field office, which covers Fentress County and Middle Tennessee, takes affect at 4 p.m. eastern time, and the advisory issued by the Jackson, Ky., weather field office, which covers McCreary County and eastern Kentucky, takes affect at 5 p.m.
Tuesday dawned with cold rain and temperatures hovering in the mid 30s. However, meteorologists said that colder weather would invade the region from the northwest later in the day, first aloft — resulting in the changeover from rain to a sleet and snow mixture — and eventually at the surface, driving temperatures below freezing Tuesday night.
Once temperatures drop below freezing Tuesday night they may stay there for a while, as an air mass that is much below normal for November hovers over the Mid-South. The forecast for Oneida from the National Weather Service calls for a high temperature of just 33 degrees on Wednesday, followed by a low of 15 by Thanksgiving morning before a warming trend begins into the weekend.
While meteorologists said the primary impact of snowfall would be on elevated surfaces, they also warned that road conditions could deteriorate late Tuesday night. The weather is expected to have an impact on the Thanksgiving holiday, delaying travel plans. Locally, grocers said they were gearing up for an unusually busy Tuesday afternoon as many shoppers push their usual day-before-Thanksgiving shopping back a day to beat the weather.
By Thanksgiving Day, the weather is expected to improve — with sunny skies but cold temperatures; the NWS-forecasted high for Thursday is only 37 degrees in Oneida.
Some events were being preemptively postponed Tuesday due to the weather forecasts. According to Scott High School principal Melissa Rector, the school's basketball games at Coalfield, which had been scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, were postponed. Also, Oneida High School's basketball games against Cumberland Gap in Harrogate, Tenn., were postponed, according to men's coach Rusty Yaden.
This story was edited 11/26/13 at 2:19 p.m. to reflect the fact that Oneida's basketball game at Cumberland Gap was also postponed.