After the first snowfall of consequence impacted the northern Cumberland Plateau late Thursday, the National Weather Service on Saturday was warning of another round of snow followed by dangerously cold temperatures.
Thursday's storm resulted in 1-to-3 inches of snow across Scott County and the northern plateau, causing a number of minor traffic accidents. However, sunny skies had cleared most roadways by midday Saturday. Meteorologists said the reprieve would not last long before old man winter flexed his muscles again to end the weekend.
In its forecast for Oneida, the NWS's Morristown weather forecast office was forecasting a 100 percent chance of rain changing to snow with plummeting temperatures Sunday night, followed by a 30 percent chance of snow and bitterly cold temperatures on Monday.
The forecast called for a low of 9 degrees Sunday night, followed by a high of 13 on Monday and a low of -4 on Monday night and a high of 16 on Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to moderate quickly on Wednesday, climbing above freezing.
Complicating the cold forecast, gusty winds are expected by meteorologists. The NWS's forecast calls for gusts as high as 25 mph on Sunday night and Monday.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service were calling the anticipated arctic air mass the "coldest temperatures the southern Appalachian region has experienced in several years."
In Oneida, the record low — dating back to 1959, when records-keeping began locally — is -7 degrees for Monday and zer0 for Tuesday. Those records were set in 1969 and 1970, respectively. While Tuesday's record low is in jeopardy, the records for coldest afternoon high temperatures in Oneida are expected to be smashed Monday and Tuesday. The current records are 22 and 27.
The all-time record for a daily high temperature in Oneida is 3 degrees, set in January 1994. The all-time record for coldest high temperature is -26 degrees, set in January 1985. The weather expected next week is drawing comparisons from both those historic arctic airmasses in 1985 and 1994, though forecasters are expecting less snow and slightly milder temperatures this time around.
The NWS was mostly mum on exact snow amounts as of Saturday. Forecasters at the Morristown office were expected to issue a winter storm watch or a winter weather advisory by late afternoon. Meanwhile, forecasters at the NWS's office in Nashville had already issued a winter storm watch for Fentress, Pickett and neighboring counties, calling for 2-to-4 inches of snow with isolated amounts up to 6 inches. A winter weather advisory was issued for the rest of Middle Tennessee.
In a special weather statement issued Saturday morning, the NWS warned of hazardous driving conditions for the Monday morning commute, and highlighted the potential for "bone-chilling arctic air." Monday night into Tuesday morning, the NWS warned, wind chill readings could drop as low as 15 degrees below zero.
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