A brief period of moderate to heavy snow and plummeting temperatures will cause roads to quickly become slick and hazardous in middle Tennessee later today and tonight.
Arctic cold fronts... like the one we will experience later today... bring weather changes that are both shockingly rapid and dangerous.
Temperatures ahead of the front are often quite mild and allow folks to enjoy a relatively comfortable day outdoors. However... after the Arctic front moves through... the temperatures fall so quickly to the freezing mark that some meteorologists have come to refer to it as a flash freeze. This type of temperature drop... coupled with a brief period of moderate to heavy snow... offers a shocking change in weather conditions over a very brief period of time.
For instance, the following forecast for Murfreesboro for this afternoon and evening will show you just how quickly things are expected to change.
At about 2:30 PM this afternoon... the temperature is forecast to be around 50 degrees... with a gusty south wind.
At 6 PM this evening... it will likely be raining ... with temperatures in the middle 40s.
The cold front will sweep through around 630 PM... and bring rapidly changing weather conditions.
At 7 PM... the rain will likely change to a moderate to heavy snow... and the temperature will have already dropped into the middle 30s. The ground will rapidly be turning white and because the snow will be coming down so fast... roads will start to get snow covered as well. Driving will become a bit more difficult due to reduced visibility and increasing snow cover.
At 730 PM... temperatures will be at the freezing mark in Nashville. Snow will still be coming down pretty good and many roads will likely have a thin blanket of snow accumulating on them. The melting snow at the Road surface... will start to freeze... as temperatures continue to rapidly fall. Driving will become increasingly hazardous... especially on untreated bridges and overpasses... where patchy ice will already be starting to develop.
At 8 PM... you can expect moderate to occasionally heavy snow to still be falling. The temperature is forecast to be 29 degrees and snow accumulation will likely be nearing an inch. Winds will be howling out of the northwest at 20 mph... with higher gusts... making it feel like 15 degrees. The melted snow on the road surfaces... that was starting to freeze 30 minutes earlier... will have already frozen on many Road surfaces... producing patches of ice just underneath the snow. Driving will become increasingly
slippery and dangerous.
By 9 PM... snow... after coming down moderately to heavily for the previous two hours... will have started to taper off... with accumulations averaging between one and a half and two inches. The temperatures will be in the middle 20s. Untreated roads in outlying areas will be especially slippery and hazardous. Northwest winds will continue to howl... producing wind chills around 10 degrees.
Between 930 PM and 12:30 AM... periods of light snow will add... perhaps..another quarter inch of snow... bringing the total on the ground to just over 2 inches. The temperature will have fallen to 18 degrees... with wind chills in the single digits. Many roads will be slick and hazardous.
Roads are expected to remain snow covered and slippery through Monday... as temperatures fall into the single digits. The few rays of sunshine that might peek through the clouds Monday afternoon will not be enough to improve road conditions.
Even though snow amounts with this upcoming storm system are not expected to be large... much of what does fall will actually stick to area roads. This... coupled with thin patches of ice underneath the snow... is what will make roads hazardous.