As Waters Recede,
To Be 2-4 Inches;
Walmart Ctr. Open
BY O.J. EARLY
As the persistent, soaking rain that has drenched Greene County since Sunday evening moves out, a strong chance of snow and ice moves in.
"It is certainly a concern," said David Gaffin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Morristown, adding that two to four inches of snow accumulation is possible for Greene County.
In addition, he said, "I'm sure we'll have some black ice developing tonight."
With snow in the forecast, the Greeneville City Schools were closing at noon today, Greeneville Director of Schools Dr. Linda Stroud said.
Greene County Schools were closed for the third straight day, a result of flooding conditions, Greene County Director of Schools Dr. Vicki Kirk said.
NEED TO 'SWITCH GEARS'
The County Road Department was quickly preparing this morning for the transition from rain to snow, according to Road Superintendent David Weems.
"We'll kind of have to switch gears later today," Weems said, adding that his department will likely salt many of the county's roads later today.
"We won't be able to do much salting until it dries off," he said. "When it gets close to freezing, we'll try to start salting this afternoon."
Because of rising creeks and streams, more than 50 roads in Greene County remained impassable this morning, Weems said.
About half of those roads were expected to re-open at some point today, he added.
WALMART CENTER REOPENS
The Walmart Distribution Center, which was evacuated Wednesday because of water covering roads near the plant, re-opened today, an employee confirmed this morning.
Bridge Burners Boulevard, a highly-traveled access point for several industries in the Midway area, was open to traffic this morning after being closed on Wednesday, Weems said.
A winter weather advisory is in effect today from 1 to 9 p.m., and a flood watch remains for Greene County through this evening.
Dropping temperatures are expected to change rain to snow early this afternoon.
"For the Greene County area, we are generally expecting about two to four inches," Gaffin said. The mountains of East Tennessee and North Carolina could receive four to eight inches of snow, he added.
Today's high temperature was expected to be 39, and the low 20.
Temperatures were expected to dip below freezing about 4 p.m. today.
WATER IS RECEDING
According to Gaffin and Weems, area creeks and streams seem to be receding.
As a result, at least half of the roads that were impassable to vehicle traffic this morning were expected to re-open later today, Weems said.
Gaffin added that, "any creeks and streams should be coming down by now. We really didn't have much rain last night."
Rain and snow are both out of the forecast for Friday and the weekend.
As of this morning, 5.59 inches of rain had fallen in Greene County since Sunday, based on measurements at the University of Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center on East Allens Bridge Road, the county's only official weather data station.
In Greene County, about 15 people have been rescued since flooding began early this week, according to Bill Brown, county emergency management director.
Most of the rescues involved individuals attempting to drive through water-covered roads, in many cases bypassing barricades and "high water" signs, Brown said.
In fact, people crossing barricades has resulted in at least one man facing charges.
David Edwin Long, 70, of 115 Meadow View Road, Mosheim, was charged Wednesday with tampering with a barricade and travel on closed road, sheriff's Deputy David Love said in a report.
About 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, deputies were dispatched to Pottertown Road on a call of "a vehicle stalled in floodwaters with people stranded."
"Upon my arrival, I observed the defendant and two juvenile males on the vehicle awaiting rescue," the report said.
Long and the juveniles were moved to safety by members of the Greeneville Emergency & Rescue Squad.
Long "did ignore a traffic barricade with 'road closed' signs" posted to warn drivers of the flooded section of Pottertown Road, "placing himself and his passengers in danger," the report said.
Long was scheduled to appear Friday in General Sessions Court.
Staff Writer Ken Little contributed to this report.