RARE WHITE CHRISTMAS PREDICTED – It has been six years since snow reportedly fell at Christmas-time in West Tennessee, according to the National Weather Service of Memphis. As of press time, the weather service has predicted at least 3 to 4 inches of sn
The Press 12/23
It’s the subject of a popular Christmas song and the stuff wintry dreams are made of, but since 1913 in this area of the country, it has yet to be a reality.
With a recent weather forecast reporting the unbelievable, however, this year’s Christmas holiday stands a very good chance of actually being a white one.
Earlier last month, meteorologists across the country were predicting the snow to go farther to the north and narrowly miss the area, but new data from Accuweather.com shows that the storm that continues to camp out over California will cause the cross-country system to track farther south at a slower pace.
The new path of the storm is expected to push snow across the southern cities of Birmingham, Atlanta and Charlotte.
Locally, the action is set to begin on Friday, Christmas Eve, when a chance of snow and sleet enters the picture after 2 p.m. After midnight, though, is when the fireworks are predicted to begin as the temperature tailspins to 27 degrees and the chance of snow increases to 70 percent. Accumulation of one to two inches is possible. The snow should continue before noon on Christmas day with a precipitation chance not decreasing by much at 60 percent. A slight chance of flurries lingers for Saturday night and Sunday and will vanish entirely by Sunday night.
According to meteorologist and Southern weather veteran Mark Mancuso, “A number of features have to come together for accumulating snow in the South.”
“The path of the storm with warm versus cold is one big issue, and the speed of dry air racing in, potentially causing the snow to evaporate before reaching the ground, is another. This is likely to be a two-loafer. One loaf (bread) for the storm, add a second since it is threatening on Christmas,” he added.
With such a significant chance of snowfall being reported for the region, the road departments in the county and City of Martin are prepping for the winter weather.
Weakley County Road Supervisor Kermit Hopper reports that while the State of Tennessee is in charge of salting the highways for adverse weather conditions, the county department will be at the ready with all of the equipment geared up to blade streets and roadways if necessary.
“We always blade the main roads, but we normally watch out for the tar-and-chipped roadways because they’re so tender,” Hopper explained. “We have bladed before when a big drift comes and traps someone in. When we’re needed, we’ll get something bladed definitely. When the snow gets deep, we blade and if the drift blocks someone in, we’ll definitely blade them out.”
If it becomes necessary to travel on icy roads, Hopper reminds drivers to, of course, use extra caution along with common sense.
“You must drive according to the road conditions. You can’t drive like normal for slick conditions,” Hopper warned. “It’s important to watch your brake application and your steering. And on the other hand, you must also watch out for other drivers who aren’t being cautious and keeping these rules in mind. You’ve got to let common sense be your guide in driving in dangerous weather conditions.”
“We’ve got liquid salt ready to go in a spare truck if necessary,” City of Martin Public Works Director Billy Wagster commented. “We also have dry bulk salt in the ¾ ton truck. If it rains before the icy precipitation comes, there’s really not much we can do. Otherwise, we have people on call at all hours in case an emergency happens.”
But, how rare is a white Christmas for this area? The last officially recorded white Christmas for Memphis was half an inch of snow on the ground in 2004.
As for this year, only a matter of hours will tell whether Bing Crosby’s little ditty will be heard shouted throughout a county daring to dream and hope for snow.