Tennessee Declares State Of Emergency Ahead Of Snow
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The state of Tennessee declared a state of emergency ahead of a winter storm that covered parts of the state with snow and ice.
Weather officials said people in East Tennessee should stay home if they don't have to go out with as much as a foot of snow expected and icy roads in some areas.
Meteorologist Eric Holweg said snow is expected to cover black ice on some roads, making for extremely dangerous driving conditions.
Many schools remained closed on Thursday due to severe weather conditions. See the latest Snow Watch School Closings.
Dozens of state roads were affected, and almost all the roads and all facilities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were closed.
Tennessee declared a state of emergency as forecasters predicted that some areas could get as much as 12 inches of snow.
Holweg said a winter storm warning covers a number of southern counties along the border with Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi and extends into all of eastern Tennessee into southwest Virginia.
In the mid-state, counties south and east of Nashville were expected to see the most snow accumulation. The National Weather Service said southern Middle Tennessee could expect anywhere between 1 and 5 inches of snow to fall.
Paul Whitfield, who works at the Welcome Center in Ardmore, Tennessee, had seen only rain most of Wednesday until it changed over late in the afternoon to snow and sleet.
Many drivers stopped at the Welcome Center admitted they were on the roads earlier then they planned in order to dodge the storm.
"Florida and southern Alabama is okay. It was in the lower 40's the whole time," James Cross said about the weather. Cross is headed from Pensacola, Florida, to Illinois.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation has crews on standby to deal with any issues on the roadways, and interstates have already been pre-treated with brine. The state has more than 170,000 tons of salt on hand for the winter weather.
"We're watching 26 counties to make sure all of the interstate and state routes in those counties are protected and ready should we get any accumulation," said TDOT spokesperson Deanna Lambert.
Meanwhile, thousands of flights have been either canceled or delayed due to the winter storm hitting across the South, including more than 2,200 flights in and out of Atlanta. Passengers were urged to check flight status before heading to the airport.
(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)