States across the Southeast, including Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, were hit by extreme winter weather this week and forecasters say it isn’t finished yet. Another two feet of snow is still expected across some of the Southeast starting today.
The National Weather Service says between 2 and 4 inches of snow fell across large portions of both Kentucky and Tennessee Wednesday, while some areas of Middle Tennessee also got a coating of ice.
At least one traffic-related death was reported when a car slid off the roadway due to speed and slick conditions, killing the driver and injuring a passenger. School districts and some universities in both states have been closed.
And the bad weather isn’t over. Weather forecasters in Memphis warned residents in West Tennessee, north Mississippi and eastern Arkansas of an approaching winter storm that could create blizzard conditions.
NWS in Memphis issued a winter storm warning for Thursday night through Friday night for large portions of the mid-South area. Sleet and snow accumulations could reach 2 to 4 inches, or more. Heavy snowfall combined with strong winds could create a blizzard.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said crews are continuing to treat roads to keep them passable, though they urged drivers to travel slowly as many remained partially covered.
The wintry weather may be just a precursor to what’s coming next. Forecasters said another cold front hit Thursday night and will continue Friday, potentially dumping more snow over the region before traveling eastward.
In West Virginia, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin began mobilizing the West Virginia National Guard to assist in the upcoming winter storm on Wednesday.
Tomblin took advantage of a statute passed in 2014 that allows him to organize state resources in advance of predicted severe weather.
NWS said some areas of the state could get up to 2 feet of snow and issued a winter storm warning for the state through Sunday.
During Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, the National Guard teamed with state highway crews to clear snow and trees from roadways. The Guard also helped distribute thousands of meals and water to shelters.
On Wednesday, schools in two dozen counties in West Virginia closed early due to a storm that brought a few inches of snow and was blamed for numerous accidents.
In North Carolina, NWS issued either winter storm warnings or advisories for 56 counties across the northern half of North Carolina, as well. Forecasters say frozen precipitation is likely from Thursday through Saturday night. Weather.com reported a foot of snow had already been dumped on the state by Friday morning.
Forecasters said Thursday up to 18 inches of snow is possible in the North Carolina mountains to 8 inches in the central part of the state. They are also concerned about the possibility of flooding along the Tar and Neuse river basins over the weekend. Rainfall has been above normal since October, increasing the chances for runoff into streams.