published Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Tennessee Valley braces for snow

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As Pavlov's dog drooled when a bell rang, shoppers flocked to grocery stores Saturday with the prediction of 4 to 8 inches of snow falling from Sunday night through Monday.

Checkout lines and grocery store parking lots were full Saturday as people scrambled to fill the cupboards before the snow hits. At the Food Lion on Hixson Pike at Ashland Terrace, people stocked up on essentials.

"When people hear the 'S' word, it gets busy here," Assistant Manager Raymond Chadwick said.

Angie Boaen, of Hixson, was making her second trip to the store Saturday evening to complete her shopping list -- milk, soup and laundry detergent.

"I forgot something this morning, so I'm back again," Boaen said. "I've been picking up everything I'll need for a couple of days."

WRCB Channel 3 meteorolgist Nick Austin said two major snowfalls in two weeks is odd for this area.

He said this winter was supposed to be warmer than usual because of La Nina, an ocean phenomenon that affects temperatures.

Instead, Austin said, December was one of the coldest on record and the second major winter event of the season is heading for the region.

Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia are under a winter storm watch from Sunday night into Monday.

Snow will start falling heavily after midnight Monday morning and most of East Tennessee can expect 4 to 6 inches by evening said Greg Cole, spokesman for the National Weather Service office in Morristown, Tenn.

SAFE POWER SOURCES

If the power goes out, alternate heat sources are helpful. But be careful; they're often the source of house fires, too.

* Use portable generators only outside to avoid deadly carbon monoxide.

* Keep propane or kerosene heaters at least three feet away from anything that will burn.

* Turn off gas or kerosene heaters before leaving the room and before you go to sleep.

* Keep children and pets away from heat sources.

* Allow the heater to cool before adding fuel.

Source: Georgia Emergency Management Agency

AREA PRECIPITATION

December 2010: 1.31 inches

December average: 4.65 inches

January to date: 2.65 inches

January-to-date average: 1.17 inches

From Chattanooga Times Free Press archives

Alex Gibbs, NWS meteorologist in Peachtree City, Ga., said North Georgia could begin seeing snow Sunday about 9 p.m. He expects 6 inches or more in lower elevations and as much as 8 inches higher up.

"This is going to be a pretty major event," Gibbs said. "It's going to stick around for a couple of days."

Temperatures are expected to warm up Wednesday.

Amy Maxwell with Hamilton County Emergency Services said people will wake up Monday to slick, dangerous roads.

"If you don't feel confident driving on the roads or if you don't have four-wheel drive, don't get out," Maxwell said. "If you stay off the roads, you could help keep police and fire personnel from being overwhelmed."

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency issued a news release Saturday urging people to prepare an emergency kit: three days of nonperishable foods, water, a flashlight with extra batteries, a radio and enough extra clothes and blankets to stay warm.

Insulate water pipes and let faucets drip to keep water lines from freezing, the agency urged.

Contact staff writer Jeremy Belk at jbelk@timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6345.

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