Freezing rain brings hazardous conditions to East Tennessee

Freezing rain brings hazardous conditions to East Tennessee

Posted: Updated:
Cumberland Avenue at Market Street in Knoxville was a solid sheet of ice Friday morning. Cumberland Avenue at Market Street in Knoxville was a solid sheet of ice Friday morning.
A few wrecks happened on Interstate 40 in Knoxville, including this one at the Bridgewater exit. A few wrecks happened on Interstate 40 in Knoxville, including this one at the Bridgewater exit.
Ever surface was coated in ice. This truck was photographed in Sweetwater. Ever surface was coated in ice. This truck was photographed in Sweetwater.
A wrecker truck pulled a car out of a ditch after it slid off Rocky Branch Road in Blount County. A wrecker truck pulled a car out of a ditch after it slid off Rocky Branch Road in Blount County.
A salt truck slid off the road and turned over at East Lamar Alexander Highway and Rocky Branch Road. A salt truck slid off the road and turned over at East Lamar Alexander Highway and Rocky Branch Road.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Freezing rain moved into East Tennessee early Friday, causing hazardous conditions for drivers. For several hours roads, bridges parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks were coated in ice.

An Ice Storm Warning was in effect for most of the WATE 6 viewing area for much of Friday. It was canceled at about 3:30 p.m.

A state of emergency has been declared in Tennessee and residents are asked to use caution when traveling.

State officials were working with Kentucky officials to discourage drivers from traveling into areas of Tennessee with icy conditions.

Even by the afternoon as temperatures had warmed up slightly in the region, the Tennessee Department of Transportation reported that some areas remained icy as temperatures hovered in the low 30s and upper 20s.

With temperatures expected to dip back down overnight, motorists were advised to avoid driving again if at all possible.

TDOT reported that all roads in the Region 1 area, a 24-county which stretches from Morgan County to Johnson County, had been treated by mid-afternoon and crews would continue to do so throughout the day.

Despite efforts by state and local road crews to treat the roads, several wrecks were reported.

A Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper was killed in a wreck near the intersection of Longmire Lane and Emory Road in northeast Knox County.

There were at least two reports of salt trucks sliding into ditches while trying to make the roads safer.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett was a passenger in one of those trucks. He was unhurt when the truck slid off Tarwater Road and into a tree.

Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesman Mark Nagi said a TDOT truck was totaled when it rolled over.

A salt truck slid off the road and turned over at East Lamar Alexander Highway and Rocky Branch Road.

Shortly after, a Blount County sheriff's deputy who was responding to the scene also slid off the road.

The officer was unhurt. There are no other reports of injuries.

Shortly after the rain started to fall before sun up it didn't take long for reports of problems to begin.

Scott County resident Heather West said drizzle began there around 4:30 a.m. and was soon turning to a thin layer of ice.

Scott County sheriff's deputies reported 14 wrecks since between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m.

Reports of ice and dangerous road conditions were received from most counties in the WATE 6 viewing area located north of Interstate 40.

The Knoxville Police Department says most drivers seemed to have heeded warnings to stay off roads because morning traffic was much lighter than normal.

Seven wrecks were reported within the Knox County limits by 11:30 a.m.

The weather conditions could bring down trees and power lines, but aside from a brief peak of outages midday, few other disturbances in power have been reported so far.

Knoxville Utility Board officials say they are prepared to send crews out to restore power as needed.

The American Red Cross opened seven shelters in order to be available in case of power outages or other problems.

But by Friday around 4 p.m., the shelters closed because conditions had improved, reported power outages were relatively scant and the shelters were not in use.

State and local highway departments spent much of Thursday and early Friday laying down a layer of salt or salt brine to keep roads from glazing over with ice.

Most school systems made the decision to call off Friday classes on Thursday.

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