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Quiet Thursday night before a heavy mix of rain and snow arrives on a First Alert Sunday

Meteorologist Ben Cathey tracks a true winter storm that will bring travel headaches across the Southeast this three day weekend.
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:07 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 10:14 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Sprinkles and drizzle Thursday night won’t amount to much; even the Smokies short-term snow is pretty shrimpy. This mini system will bring in colder air, however, getting us started for a First Alert Sunday.

Some in East Tennessee are likely to receive several inches of snow. The *peaks* of the Smokies could get over 8″ of snow. Meanwhile in the Valley, long-lived cold rain will eat up a lot of snow totals.

Expect travel inconveniences throughout a several-hundred-mile range Sunday afternoon through early Monday.

WHAT TO EXPECT

The short-range forecast here is straight forward. We are all dry Friday, with some increasing sunshine Friday afternoon. The best chance for sun is south of Interstate 40. The big story Friday is that we are nearly 10 degrees colder. That sets up a slow change-over to cold drizzle Saturday.

Saturday starts dry, with limited sunshine. That transforms into widespread cold sprinkles and/org light rain Saturday evening. This will begin to stick as snow but only way up in the National Park and National Forest Saturday late night.

LOOKING AHEAD

The WVLT First Alert Weather Day commences just before dawn Sunday. Our ‘in house’ tools show sticking snow at dawn in Cumberland County. While that could stack up fast, much could melt off later in the day. Throughout the entire day Sunday, we have bitterly cold (but liquid) rain. Sleet and a hint of freezing rain is more likely north of Knoxville, in Union, Campbell, and Scott Counties. That’s during the daytime on Sunday.

Let me stress this: most will not wake up to sticking snow Sunday. The transition to sticking snow will not happen for most until after dark Sunday. The exceptions: Southeastern Kentucky and higher parts of the Plateau. The Smokies and western North Carolina will get sticking snow much of the day Sunday.

Late Sunday evening, there’s a better chance for sticking on cold surfaces in the Valley, Foothills, plus the rest of our area. Some will see snow falling hard, but sticking will be limited below 1,500′ in elevation.

Meanwhile, to our east, north, and west, the storm continues. If you are travelling to these directions, expect travel to be more difficult. There’s also a higher freezing rain threat in the Carolinas Sunday.

As of late Thursday, confidence remains low on exactly where the heavier bands will fall - outside of the Smoky Mountains. We have the First Alert as a guide for impacted travel, but not all will see sticking snow. Even a 10-mile swing on the track will mean dramatic differences on snowfall.

The snow wraps up on Monday morning. Much of Monday and Tuesday is quiet and cold.

The next round of rain is here Wednesday afternoon into the overnight.

Join us on the WVLT First Alert Weather app for iPhone or Android, so you can stay informed on the go and in between newscasts. We share custom videos there for you, plus you can receive messages on the latest conditions and forecast.

Sunday brings a heavy blend of rain, snow, and sleet, likely causing regional travel issues.
Sunday brings a heavy blend of rain, snow, and sleet, likely causing regional travel issues.(WVLT)

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