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Winter weather hits Wilson

By Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 15, 2015 at 2:09 PM

Though the recent winter weather has seen frigid temperatures, conditions are expected to ease up toward the end of the week according to the National Weather Service and Capt. Steve Spencer with the Wilson Emergency Management Agency.

Last week, forecasters said an arctic cold front would make its way into the area late Saturday night and into Sunday, with rain changing to snow that could accumulate 1-3 inches on Sunday.

According to forecasters, the air with this “arctic cold front” would be the coldest the area’s had since 1994, with highs barely reaching single digits and wind chills as low as -15 degrees.

“Earlier last week it was forecasted for cold air to move into the area, and we were looking at the possibility of 1-3 inches of snow,” said Spencer. “As the front got closer it picked up speed, and when the cold air came, it didn’t get snowfall.”

On Sunday, forecasters lessened the winter weather threat and canceled the winter weather advisory for Wilson County and Middle Tennessee, though the threat of snow, ice and subfreezing temperatures remained and a wintry mix fell across the area.

Spencer said some areas in Wilson County had a half inch or less of snow.

“It was fortunate for us,” Spencer said. “It reduced the impact on roads, which helped a great deal. The winds stayed up and helped dry the roads a little bit.”

According to Spencer, secondary and less traveled roads were very slick with sheets of ice, especially those that were shaded.

“Most of the main roads, roads with southern exposure or roads that the winds got to are in decent shape,” Spencer said.

Travel conditions were better than expected Monday, with main roads mostly clear of ice.

“We had a few run-off-the-road-type things, but most people stayed in, which helped us out a lot,” Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan said. “If people will just slow down and pay attention to what they are doing or just stay home, those are the things that cause us the most problems.”

In Mt. Juliet, police set up real-time updates on road conditions at the department’s website. Officers said hazardous road conditions were still evident, but main thoroughfares were clear with a few patches of ice.

According to Mt. Juliet police, some of the more hazardous streets were Adams Lane, Benders Ferry, Central Pike, Clemmons Road, Curd Road, E. Division Street, Old Lebanon Dirt Road, Pleasant Grove Road, Rutland Drive and Woodridge Drive.

Looking ahead, forecasters said snow flurries are still expected for most of Middle Tennessee through Monday afternoon, but no accumulations are expected.

Spencer said temperatures would remain below freezing until at least Wednesday afternoon, with a 39-degree high predicted.

Winds were also set to begin dying down into Tuesday morning with cold continuing for the next 48 hours.

Temperatures should be back above freezing for a couple of hours Wednesday afternoon, and a small chance of a wintry mix is possible Thursday morning.

Spencer said Thursday’s chance of a “winter disturbance” would be nothing to worry about with highs expected to be in the mid 40s.

“The big thaw will occur on Thursday when temperatures are expected to go above freezing for most of the day,” Spencer said. “A brief wintry mix is expected Thursday morning, but at this time there is very low impact for us from this system. The warming will continue into the weekend with rain on Friday and Saturday.”

According to forecasters, scattered rain is expected to begin Friday and last through the weekend, but temperatures should be above freezing. Saturday and Sunday are both expected to have highs in the mid 50s.

“If we can make it until Wednesday afternoon we’re in good shape for the rest of the week,” Spencer said.

Spencer said, for Monday, Middle Tennessee would be under a wind chill advisory, including winds with 15 mph-25 mph gusts.

Due to inclement weather, the city of Lebanon delayed this week’s garbage pickup. The schedule will run one day late citywide.

Both Lebanon and Wilson County schools closed Monday and Tuesday due to the winter storm.

All Wilson County schools daycare and extracurricular activities were cancelled both Monday and Tuesday. Lebanon schools daycare will remain open, but extracurricular activities were cancelled.

Wilson County teachers, administrators and other school officials are expected to report Tuesday at noon.

Friendship Christian School officials also cancelled classes Monday and Tuesday. In addition, there were no extended care or athletic events. Cap and gown photos will be rescheduled.

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