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Snow blankets Nashville as storm hits Middle TN; winter storm warning in effect

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 1/6/2022 Rachel Wegner and Adam Friedman, Nashville Tennessean

A winter storm warning is in effect for most of Middle Tennessee as snow moves through the region this morning. 

"Snow will spread from west to east across the mid state during the morning, and will end during the late afternoon and evening," NWS Nashville said in a tweet Thursday morning. "Significant travel impacts are anticipated."

The first reports of snow and sleet came in around 7 a.m. in the western part of the region as the sun rose. Snow was first seen in Nashville around 7:30 a.m. before overtaking the rest of the region. 

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The National Weather Service said "heavy snow" is expected, with as much as 2-6 inches accumulating in Middle Tennessee. Locally higher amounts are possible. The NWS Storm Prediction Center said snow could fall as quickly as 1-2 inches per hour between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Nashville may see 5-6 inches of snow, while Clarksville and Waverly may get 4-5 inches. Around 3-4 inches are expected in Columbia, Smithville and Crossville. Around 2-3 inches are estimated in Waynesboro while Tullahoma could see up to 2 inches. 

Most of the region is under a winter storm warning until 8 p.m. while Giles, Lawrence and Wayne County are under a winter storm watch until 8 p.m. Sleet and freezing rain are possible with the snow across the southern counties.

Dangerous road conditions are likely on Thursday and could linger into Friday. If you must travel, slow down and give yourself extra time. NWS recommends keeping an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Keep in mind that elevated surfaces, like bridges, may ice before roads. Call 511 to get the latest road conditions. 

As much as 6 inches of snow could fall across Middle Tennessee on Thursday, the NWS said. © National Weather Service As much as 6 inches of snow could fall across Middle Tennessee on Thursday, the NWS said.

Be prepared: 5 tips to get your home ready for winter weather

A blast of frigid temperatures will follow the snow overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, dipping to single digits in some areas. Temperatures aren't expected to go above freezing until Saturday. 

Middle Tennessee got its first snow of the year overnight Sunday and into Monday morning. The region saw anywhere between a half-inch up to 9 inches of snow. The snow and ice caused a few school delays and cancellations across the region. 

Snow prompts school, other closures

The expected snow prompted school closures across the region. Find a file with the latest major public school closures here

Metro Nashville Public Schools are still set to return for their semester Friday. MNPS officials are "closely monitoring weather conditions and getting regular updates from the National Weather Service," spokesperson Sean Braisted said in an email to The Tennessean on Wednesday. 

Most of Middle Tennessee is under a winter storm warning until 8 p.m. © National Weather Service Most of Middle Tennessee is under a winter storm warning until 8 p.m.

"We will be monitoring road conditions throughout the day tomorrow and will notify families and staff as quickly as possible if a decision is made to close schools," Braisted said. "Otherwise, we are planning and preparing for school to resume on Friday."

Middle Tennessee State University also announced it was closed Thursday. Schools like Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University and Belmont University had already delayed the start of classes or moved to virtual due to COVID-19.

Tennessee officials also announced that all state offices will be closed statewide. Employees who can work from home will continue to work, and state services offered online will still be available. 

Nashville said many of its facilities and buildings will be closed Thursday, including health clinics and facilities, libraries and others. The city's drive-thru COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites are closed Thursday due to the weather. The latest updates on COVID-19 and testing sites can be found at asafenashville.org.

Government offices for Wilson County, Lebanon and Mt. Juliet are closed Thursday. Wilson County Health Department vaccination and testing are closed Thursday.

Murfreesboro announced the closure of city hall and city facilities for Thursday and Friday. City court dates and meetings are canceled, Murfreesboro Transit will not be operating and solid waste collection will be limited. 

SCHOOL CLOSINGS IN MIDDLE TN: Districts cancel classes ahead of expected snow

Road conditions, where to find Nashville traffic cameras

The Tennessee Department of Transportation began pre-treating roads on Wednesday ahead of the anticipated snow and ice. Salt and supplies were also stocked up ahead of the winter season. 

“We prepare for winter weather months in advance,” TDOT Commissioner Joe Galbato said in the release. “Clearing our roadways as soon as we can is vital to keeping motorists safe and traffic moving in Tennessee.”

Road conditions on Interstate 40 at Interstate 840 in Williamson County Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. © Tennessee Department of Transportation Road conditions on Interstate 40 at Interstate 840 in Williamson County Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022.

When snow and ice hit, TDOT focuses on interstates and heavily traveled state routes, along with areas prone to freezing like hill, curves, ramps, bridges and interchanges. 

Find winter weather tips, travel information and more at tn.gov/tdot/inclement-weather. You can also follow @myTDOT on Facebook and Twitter for urgent traffic information. Call 511 for the l road conditions in your areas.

You can also view road conditions in real time by visiting TDOT's Smartway Map. You can see road conditions on major roadways by clicking on "traffic cameras" from the drop down feature menu at the top right.

Just before 9 a.m., Nashville police were responding to more than two dozen crashes involving property damage and about a half-dozen injury crashes across Davidson County.

A wreck shut down I-40 at the I-65 interchange in Nashville around 8:45 a.m. and Nashville police reported treacherous roads and multiple wrecks at 10 a.m.

"Travel throughout Nashville is treacherous," the Metro Nashville Police Department tweeted at 10 a.m. "A semi-truck crash is blocking I-24 east near Hickory Hollow. The slick Harding Place exit on I -65 south has multiple vehicles unable to move. Murfreesboro Pike outbound in the Fesslers Lane area is significantly backed up." 

Mt. Juliet Police reported hazardous road conditions and multiple wrecks Thursday morning, warning that some roads are not passable, especially those with hills or grades. 

Nashville opens extreme cold weather shelter 

Nashville opened its extreme cold weather shelter on Wednesday night ahead of the storms. It will remain open until 9 a.m. Saturday. 

The overnight housing is open to anyone who needs it at 3230 Brick Church Pike. Men, women, couples and pets are welcome. Overflow shelter activates when temperatures drop to 28 degrees or below in Nashville.

Free transit is available via WeGo Central on WeGo Public Transit line 23B from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on nights the extreme cold shelter is open. 

The overflow shelter will start taking guests when primary community partner shelters reach maximum capacity, including the Nashville Rescue Mission. Standard operating hours are between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

A transportation plan is in place for outreach workers to drop off individuals across the city. Partners will receive directions on how to drop people off at the overflow shelters after hours and seasonal cold weather-activated passes to hand out.

Outreach workers and persons experiencing homelessness can also text "NashvilleWinter" to 84483 to sign up to receive text notifications about 24 hours in advance of each overflow shelter opening.

More information can be found at coldweathernashville.com or by calling 615-862-6391. Updated information on the shelter's hours will be available by 9 a.m. each day.

Snow follows warm, stormy December

The cold snap follows an unseasonably warm December, which was the second-warmest December on record for Middle Tennessee, NWS said. In Nashville, the average temperature was 53.4 degrees, which was 10.7 degrees above normal. 

On Christmas Day, Clarksville reached a record-high 75 degrees, breaking the previous record of 74 degrees set in 2016. Nashville reached 78 degrees, breaking its record high set in 2016.

Middle Tennessee also had record number of December tornadoes. Here's a look at the 2021 numbers: 

  • A total of 21 tornadoes broke out across Middle Tennessee in December — five on Dec. 6 and 16 on Dec. 10-11, NWS said. It shattered the record for December tornadoes since record-keeping began.
  • The Dec. 10-11 outbreak included three EF-2s in Dickson (Dickson County), Kingston Springs (Cheatham County) and Stewart County, with winds between 125 mph and 135 mph.
  • The December outbreak marked the fifth-largest tornado outbreak on record for Middle Tennessee.
  • Stewart, Humphreys, Cheatham, Wilson, Trousdale, Overton, Pickett, Coffee and Grundy counties recorded their first-ever December tornadoes.
  • Middle Tennessee saw a record-breaking 45 tornadoes this year, beating the previous record of 38 set in 2011.

Nashville forecast

Thursday: 100% chance of snow mainly before 4 p.m. High: 30; Low: 9

Friday: Mostly sunny: High: 29; Low: 17

Saturday: Mostly sunny during the day, then showers and a possible thunderstorm overnight. Chance of precipitation is 100%. High: 48; Low: 41

Nashville-area weather radar

Reporter Natalie Alund contributed to this story.

Find reporter Rachel Wegner at rawegner@tennessean.com or on Twitter @rachelannwegner.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Snow blankets Nashville as storm hits Middle TN; winter storm warning in effect

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