Winter Storm Dumps 5-7 Inches Of Snow Across Greene County; More May Come
BY O.J. EARLY
Loading up on bread, eggs and milk proved wise.
Local residents awoke this morning to the biggest snow Greene County has seen in 10 years, following Winter Storm Pax's much-anticipated arrival in East Tennessee.
Greene County recorded between 5 and 7 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). There's been that much snow in Greene County only three times since 1990, records from the (NWS) show.
The majority of local roads remained treacherous this morning, Greene County Road Superintendent David Weems said.
The county received only 1-2 inches of snow throughout the day on Wednesday, perhaps giving the impression that the winter storm wasn't coming.
But come it did, as snow accumulated much faster overnight.
The NWS reported that Greeneville had 5 inches of snow at 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday.
Road conditions began to worsen in the early evening hours on Wednesday. At 8:30 p.m., Weems told The Greeneville Sun that all county roads were snow-covered.
His crews worked all night to plow, grade and salt roads. His department will do the same today.
"If we can get some sun out, I think we'll see some of this snow melt," he said. "We'll be working today until we get it cleared up."
Weems said his crews encountered few vehicle accidents overnight.
"I was pleased because I think a lot of the public listened to the warnings and requests to stay at home. I would like to compliment the public for staying at home last night," he said.
Dale Dodds, a 911 dispatcher, said his office didn't field many calls during the snow.
"We didn't have a lot of calls," he said. "We had a few EMS calls."
Dodds was aware of only one person who had to be transported to a hospital following a wreck.
"People are actually staying home. It's been relatively quiet (and) nothing as far as accidents. We had none after 11 p.m.," said 911 dispatcher Kevin "Bucky" Ayers, who worked overnight.
He added: "If you're driving, be cautious. Stay home if you can, if you don't have to get out."
Greeneville police Officer Craig Duncan said the overnight period was generally quiet.
"We didn't have a lot of wrecks last night," he said.
Most roads in town are passable, Duncan said.
"You just have to keep an eye on the weather. If this warms up a lot, (the snow) will go away," he said. "You don't want to get out unless you need to go to work. Use common sense."
Patrol deputies were able to cope with the snowfall, Sheriff Steve Burns said this morning.
"It helped us having plenty of advance warning. It was a good thing," Burns said.
As the sun came up this morning, Greeneville roads and driveways echoed with the scraping sounds of snow plows and shovels.
Dale Kyker, owner of Kyker's Xtreme Automotive at 1201 Tusculum Blvd., was getting a head start on shoveling snow off the sidewalk in front of the business.
He took the storm in stride.
"It's not bad," Kyker said. "I've been in the wrecker business for 25 years."
In Tusculum, a public works crew worked through the night to keep up with the steady snowfall, Mayor John Foster said this morning.
"They worked all night last night plowing streets and putting down salt, and our streets look a lot better," Foster said. "They hauled about six or seven loads of salt last night.
"We're still at it. We're working hard out here in Tusculum," Foster said.
The Greeneville Light & Power System (GL&PS) fared exceptionally well during a winter storm Wednesday night that dumped several inches of snow over Greeneville and Greene County.
GL&PS General Manager Bill Carroll reported early Thursday that the system received only one call overnight, when a conduit came off a customer's house.
"This really shows the value and effectiveness of our tree-trimming program," Carroll said.
No other outages have been reported as of Thursday morning.
"It's almost too good to be true. Our customers are getting excellent benefits from our continuing right-of-way [tree-trimming] efforts," he said.
GL&PS employees spent Wednesday preparing for the storm, and planned to have crews available throughout the evening to respond to any issues that could have arisen, Carroll said.
As a result of expected road conditions on Friday, Carroll said that GLPS' business office would open at 10 a.m. on Friday.
Greene County remains under a winter storm warning until 4 p.m. today, and could see snow totals rise, Morristown-based NWS meteorologist Jessica Winton said.
"Today we can expect another wave moving through, mainly north of Knoxville," Winton said. "Greene County could see an additional inch-to-inch-and-a-half today."
The entire region was greeted with a blanket of snow this morning, she said.
"We had an average of 6-8 inches in the mountains," she said. "The valley had about 5-7 inches."
Weather conditions closed the Greene County School System and the Greeneville City School System.
Staff Writers Ken Little and Sarah R. Gregory contributed to this report.