East Tennessee drenched, but avoids worst of fast-moving storms

East Tennessee drenched, but avoids worst of fast-moving storms

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - East Tennessee will dodge the worst of a storm system that is racing across the U.S., but that doesn't mean the storm's effects won't be felt.

To the south is a path of severe weather from Georgia into the Carolinas. Snow is blanketing the north from Missouri through Ohio.

After heavy rain fell in the area overnight and knocked out power for up to 8,000 Knoxville Utility Board customers, the main threat for East Tennessee Wednesday is strong, potentially damaging winds, especially in the higher elevations of the foothills and Smokies.

Winds could gust over 60 mph at times into Wednesday afternoon. The rest of the region will see gusty winds 15-35 mph through the afternoon.

The chance of scattered showers and a few thunderstorms will remain until a cold front sweeps through in the afternoon. Temperatures will drop through the afternoon and evening hours. Leftover moisture could mix with and change to light snow.

Temperatures won't drop below freezing for most areas until the overnight hours, and by then most of the moisture will be gone.

Some light accumulations of snow could be seen in higher elevation areas along the Plateau and into the Mountains. Up to an inch could fall on the Plateau and 1-3 inches for the mountains.

The valley areas of East Tennessee will most likely see only a trace of snow or no accumulations at all.

Quieter weather is expected for Thursday and Friday, but another storm system could be headed our way by the weekend.

East Tennessee's weather will be mild compared to the enormous storm system that dumped snow and sleet to the north and damaging tornadoes that hit the South. As the storm slams its way to the Northeast, many holiday travelers have had to change plans due to flight delays and cancellations.

More than 325 flights were canceled as of Wednesday morning, according to FlightAware.com.

Rare winter tornadoes damaged numerous homes in Louisiana and Alabama and are blamed for three deaths.

The storms also left more than 100,000 without power for a time.

Mobile, Ala. was one of the places hit by the rare winter twisters. Straight-line winds also caused damage as the storms knocked down trees and blew the roofs off homes.

Several communities in southern Mississippi and Louisiana were hit by severe weather. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in several counties, including Pearl River County, where a likely tornado damaged a dozen homes and sent eight people to the hospital.

Blizzard conditions were felt in parts of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

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