Winter storm blanketing parts of South with snow, ice

Jan 6, 2022, 11:48 AM | Updated: 10:07 pm

Fred Baker, left and Karen Richards help their granddaughter, Anaya Christian 3, push some snow as ...

Fred Baker, left and Karen Richards help their granddaughter, Anaya Christian 3, push some snow as she plays with a new toy tractor, Thursday morning, Jan. 6, 2022, in Owensboro, Ky. (Greg Eans/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP)

(Greg Eans/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A winter storm blanketed parts of the South with snow, freezing rain and sleet Thursday, tying up roads in Tennessee and Kentucky as the system tracked a path through Appalachia toward the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

Nashville saw 6.3 inches (16 centimeters) of snowfall on Thursday, shattering the city’s previous Jan. 6 record of 4 inches (10 centimeters) that had stood since 1977, the National Weather Service said. Freezing rain and sleet coated areas around the Tennessee-Alabama state border, said Scott Unger, a meteorologist for the service in Nashville.

Authorities urged people to travel only when necessary, as Metro Nashville Police reported accidents and other driving woes that snarled and slowed several roads. Police in the city reported dozens of wrecks on the road by the early afternoon. A bevy of crashes and other issues bottlenecked drivers on multiple interstates in the region.

Along the Kentucky border, authorities in Montgomery County, Tennessee, were dealing with dozens of crashes as well, including a wreck that killed one person involving a commercial vehicle on Interstate 24, according to Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesperson Lt. Bill Miller.

Tennessee Department of Transportation regional spokesperson Rebekah Hammonds tweeted Thursday that the agency is “clearing as much as we can but issues will continue as snow continues to fall and temps drop.”

With temperatures expected to plummet overnight, everything on the ground is going to freeze and create treacherous road conditions Friday, Unger said.

Schools around Tennessee canceled classes and governments temporarily closed their buildings, as far west as Memphis and Shelby County, which saw a dose of ice and snow. Gov. Bill Lee shuttered state offices across Tennessee. Nashville and Memphis both saw their share of canceled flights.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear warned that the snow hitting his state was “both real and dangerous,” with hundreds of car crashes across the state. Some areas had already received more than a half-foot by early afternoon, National Weather Service meteorologist Ron Steve said. Beshear declared a state of emergency and said he deployed teams of the Kentucky National Guard to help in the response, particularly at interstate closures. Search and rescue teams were activated for safety checks on stranded motorists.

Beshear closed state offices at noon Thursday and later extended the closure through Friday.

The largest snowfall by Thursday evening was 8 to 9 inches (20 to 23 centimeters) in a swath from Elizabethtown to Bardstown and Nicholasville to Lexington, said meteorologist Brian Schoettmer of the weather service’s Louisville office. Eastern Kentucky recorded 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters), and far western Kentucky had about 3 inches (8 centimeters).

In Elizabethtown, officials said a pileup of 20 to 30 cars in snowy conditions Thursday afternoon closed both lanes of the Western Kentucky Parkway.

Kentucky transportation officials said the snow fell so fast that by the time they finished plowing some routes, they were already snow-covered again.

First lady Jill Biden, meanwhile, had to cancel her trip planned for Thursday to view damage from last month’s tornado in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The storm presented an expected boon to the ski industry in West Virginia, where up to 9 inches (23 centimeters) of snow was forecast. Three of the state’s four major downhill ski resorts had suspended on-slope operations earlier this week due to warmer conditions. Now the activity was picking back up.

“West Virginia can’t wait to welcome travelers to our snow-capped mountains this winter,” said Chelsea Ruby, secretary of the state’s Department of Tourism.

The storm’s path could create further headaches as it swirls through the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.

In Virginia, work was under way both to prepare for the expected snow and mitigate the effects of a winter storm earlier in the week that left hundreds of drivers stranded on Interstate 95.

Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and tapped the Virginia National Guard for some additional help.

The Washington and Baltimore areas, parts of central and southern Maryland, and portions of northern Virginia should expect 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of snow overnight Thursday into Friday morning, with isolated high amounts up to 6 inches (15 centimeters), forecasters said. The Office of Personnel Management said federal offices in the Washington area would be closed Friday.

Massachusetts was bracing for 8 inches (20 centimeters) or more from 2022’s first snowstorm, and as a precaution, many state workers were told to stay home Friday. Gov. Charlie Baker also urged residents to either work from home or use public transportation so highways were free of traffic and could be easily cleared.

From late Thursday through Friday afternoon, 4 to 7 inches of snow were expected in parts of central and southern New Hampshire, and south-central and southwest Maine, according to the weather service. The highest amounts are expected along the coast. The steadiest snow will be expected during the morning commute Friday before tapering off.

In Michigan, meanwhile, snow fueled by the Great Lakes fell for a second consecutive day Thursday in the western part of the state and the Upper Peninsula, with some communities reporting remarkable amounts and bracing for even more by Friday.

Ishpeming recorded 23 inches (58 centimeters) in one location, while many other areas in the Upper Peninsula had a foot or more, the National Weather Service said.

In North Dakota, dangerously frigid weather presented the biggest risk Thursday. Cold temperatures enveloping the state pushed wind chill readings down to minus 59 degrees in Bowbells, the county seat of Burke County in northwestern North Dakota.


Associated Press writers John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia; Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee; Beth Campbell in Louisville, Kentucky; Bill Kole in Boston; Ed White in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia; contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to show that Nashville’s snowfall broke the record for previous Jan. 6 snowfall. It did not break the overall one-day record.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A demonstrator in Tel Aviv holds a sign calling for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel war on Nov. 21...

Associated Press

Hamas releases a third group of hostages as part of truce, and says it will seek to extend the deal

The fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was back on track Sunday as the first American was released under a four-day truce.

2 days ago

Men look over the site of a deadly explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 18, ...

Associated Press

New AP analysis of last month’s deadly Gaza hospital explosion rules out widely cited video

The Associated Press is publishing an updated visual analysis of the deadly Oct. 17 explosion at Gaza's Al-Ahli Hospital.

6 days ago

Peggy Simpson holds a photograph of law enforcement carrying Lee Harvey Oswald's gun through a hall...

Associated Press

JFK assassination remembered 60 years later by surviving witnesses to history, including AP reporter

Peggy Simpson is among the last surviving witnesses who are sharing their stories as the nation marks the 60th anniversary.

6 days ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, ...

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

7 days ago

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump helps serve food to Texas Natio...

Associated Press

Trump receives endorsement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a visit to a US-Mexico border town

Donald Trump picked up the Texas governor’s endorsement Sunday during a visit to a U.S.-Mexico border town.

9 days ago

Eric Trump, executive vice president of Trump Organization Inc., speaks to the media as he leaves f...

Associated Press

Lawyers in Trump’s civil fraud trial are ordered to clam up about judge’s communications with staff

Eric Trump testified Friday that he was relying on accountants to ensure the accuracy of financial statements.

25 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

Winter storm blanketing parts of South with snow, ice