Area nailed with 9 inches of snow

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Marshall County was buried under almost 10 inches of snow this weekend.

Up to nine inches of snow were measured in Marshall County on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. The white stuff closed schools here for two days. Classes were to resume this morning.

High school basketball tournaments, however, were played as scheduled Monday night because schools in Eagleville and Spring Hill weren't closed and if games hadn't been played in Cornersville that round of the tournament would have to be rescheduled.

The nine inches of snow were measured five miles northeast of Cornersville, NWS Meteorologist Sam Herron said. Three miles west south west of Chapel Hill 8.5 inches of snow accumulated in the county while Lewisburg got 8.3 inches and 4.8 inches were measured 10 miles south of Chapel Hill.

"It's quite variable," Herron said while Marshall County schools were closed Monday.

The decision to keep schools closed on Tuesday was made at about 2 p.m. Monday.

Schools Director Stan Curtis consulted with the system's transportation supervisor, the county highway department, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and neighboring school system directors. His biggest concern was several inches of snow left on back roads, cold temperatures overnight and ice formations.

"We've got some pretty bad roads out there," Curtis said. "It's always a tough choice."

Giles County schools were also closed Tuesday. Marshall and Giles both got 8-10 inches of snow. Bedford County schools were closed Monday and reopened Tuesday.

Teachers work an extra 30 minutes every day so that 8 snow days and 5 in-service days are built into the calendar, Curtis said, emphasizing that school employees are not paid "for staying home" when schools are closed for snow.

The weather system that covered South Central Tennessee with snow was substantial and was producing snow in Pennsylvania and New York on Monday.

"This was an intense upper level storm system that tracked southeast from the central plains," NWS Meteorologist John Cohen said Monday morning.

"We see them in winter," Cohen said. "The track is very important in terms of who gets the ... most snow. Every snowfall is different in size and intensity."

This one had a low pressure system tracking the upper levels of the atmosphere and that affected the snowfall's location, he said.

There was far less snow in Nashville and the southern suburban counties, as well as less to little snow in Huntsville.

"The cutoff line was just south of Nashville and ... so the snow kind of curved around Nashville," Cohen said. "Areas to the south of Marshall County like Huntsville didn't get as much as you did."

Temperatures hit the mid to upper 30s Monday, but wind made it feel colder and melting and compacted snow prompted Cohen to forecast problems Tuesday morning as the overnight low was back down to 19. Wind helped melting snow evaporate.

Today's forecast calls for mostly sunny with a high in the mid 50s with south winds at 10-50 mph. Tonight's low is expected to be in the upper 30s. Thursday is expected to be partly sunny with highs in the mid 60s.