published Friday, January 13th, 2012

Chattanooga area snow showers usher in chill

Overpasses, bridges and secondary roads could be slick this morning as temperatures plummet, turning a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow into a frozen glaze.

"There will definitely be some icy patches in certain areas that drivers will want to watch out for," said WRCB-TV Channel 3 chief meteorologist Paul Barys.

Hamilton County dispatchers reported more than 15 weather-related vehicle wrecks as snow and sleet descended on the area during rush hour Thursday.

Flurries fell in strong but short spurts during the evening but melted almost as soon as they landed in the Tennessee Valley.

Between half an inch to an inch accumulated in higher elevations, prompting several area schools to close their doors this morning.

The cold snap was ushered in by a swift-moving cold front that should keep temperatures hovering around freezing today -- far more bitter than any weather the area has experienced so far this year, Barys said.

"The wind chill will make it feel more like 20 degrees," said Barys.

The frigid temperatures won't be enough to freeze the ground, which remains warm due to uncharacteristically mild days this winter, said Robert Beasley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Ga.

"There won't be any hard freezing," Beasley said. "It doesn't take much ice to cause a problem, but we're not looking at a major event."

The skies should clear and temperatures should continue to highs in the 40s and 50s through the weekend, said Beasley.

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