published Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Wintry mix is forecast for tonight in Chattanooga area, North Georgia


by Naomi Jagoda
  • photo
    Audra Layton holds an umbrella as she walks through the rain with her daughter, Samantha Layton, into the Food Lion grocery store on Highway 58 on Wednesday afternoon.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
    enlarge photo

You might want to take out your warmest winter coat. The next several days will bring snow, wind and cold temperatures to the Chattanooga area.

Snow showers will start in the area this afternoon and are expected to end before sunrise Friday, WRCB-TV Channel 3 Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys said.

There's a pretty good chance that the valley areas will get at least flurries, Barys said, while higher elevation areas could see up to an inch of snow.

Northwest Georgia and parts of Polk County, Tenn., have a winter weather advisory in effect from 7 p.m. today to 7 a.m. Friday, and Sequatchie, Marion and Bledsoe counties in Tennessee have a winter weather advisory in effect from 4 p.m. today until 7 a.m. on Friday, according to the National Weather Service. This advisory means that snow is expected or occurring but accumulations are expected to be light.

Roads in higher elevations could be slippery, Barys added, including secondary roads and Interstate 24 northwest to Monteagle, Tenn.

Wind and below-freezing temperatures are also on the horizon.

There's a wind advisory in effect for north and central Georgia through midnight with winds from 15 to 25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph.

Those winds will blow in cooler temperatures. Lows over the weekend will fall in the 20s, the National Weather Service is reporting.

"It's going to be very cold," Barys said.

Robert Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Ga., said the region hasn't had much cold yet this winter because more of the air fronts have come from warmer places like Texas.

Barys said that one of the strongest cold fronts this season in the Chattanooga area is causing the wintry weather.

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"It's just a very powerful cold front," he said.

Jake Yoder, manager of East Ridge Hardware on Ringgold Road, said he's seen a few people come into his store to prepare for the cold temperatures by purchasing items such as weatherstripping.

But Yoder hadn't heard about the reports of snow and said people tend not to think about snow when it was warm as it was on Wednesday.

After there are reports of snow on the news, however, "the phone rings off the hook for sleds," he said.

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