Winter storm headed into E. Tenn.

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A winter storm is expected to hit East Tennessee Friday and Saturday, according to Pinpoint 8 Weather Team and the National Weather Service.

Meteorologist Jim Freeman expects the storm to be divided along the I-40 corridor, with areas south of the interstate getting less snow by Saturday night than areas north of the interstate

The forecast accumulation totals vary considerably because of the uncertainty of the low pressure system moving into the area that's bringing the winter storm with it. Meteorologist Megan Campbell says she expects more ice than snow, with snow accumulations up to two inches in the Valley.

"However, it appears that a significant snow could occur over a large part of the area," a special weather statement from the National Weather Service states. "Residents across East Tennessee, southwest Virginia and southwest North Carolina need to keep abreast of this developing storm system."

While some areas will experience snow and ice starting late Thursday, forecasters say the bulk of the precipitation will become widespread starting Friday afternoon, and will last through Saturday afternoon.

"The precipitation will likely change phases as warm air moves up the East Tennessee Valley during the day Friday," the special weather statement says. "Snow will likely change to rain and sleet across southeast Tennessee and southwest North Carolina. As the low will tracks east of the Southern Appalachians Friday night and Saturday, the wintry mix of precipitation will change to all snow."

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect from the National Weather Service until Saturday afternoon.

Freeman says the temperature will be key to determining whether we get snow or mostly cold rain, which is something that could be determined by a difference of just a couple of degrees or less.

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