MUCH COLDER AIR ARRIVES TONIGHT, CHANGING RAIN TO SNOW

* WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR TONIGHT AND SATURDAY FOR THE LOWER ELEVATIONS, INCLUDING THE TRI-CITIES *

* WINTER STORM WARNING FOR TONIGHT AND SATURDAY FOR THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF EAST TENNESSEE, SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA, AND WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA *

* Click here for the latest advisories, watches and warnings *

LIGHT ACCUMULATIONS IN THE VALLEYS
MODERATE TO HEAVY ACCUMULATIONS IN THE MOUNTAINS WITH TRAVEL IMPACTS

Tonight: Rain mixing with and changing to snow. Lows 30-35. Winds northwest 5-15 mph.

Saturday: Mountain snow showers. Valley snow showers mixing with or changing to rain showers. Windy and cold. Highs 36-42. Northwest wind 5-20 mph.

Saturday Night: Clouds, showers, and winds decreasing. Lows 24-30. Winds north 5 mph.

Weather Summary:

We are tracking a strong cold front in the StormTrack 5 Weather Center. Low pressure associated with this cold front continues to spin in the Great Lakes, poised to make a nose-dive towards our region tonight.

StormTrack 5 meteorologists continue to track a wintry setup tonight into parts of Saturday. Rain showers will change to snow showers tonight.

Cold air will pour into the region behind the cold front tonight changing the rain to snow (first in the mountains about 2500 feet by midnight and between 1 AM and 4 AM Saturday in the Tri-Cities). Temperatures will drop to near or below freezing tonight across the higher elevations, and near or a little above freezing over the lower elevations The wind direction from northwest will help enhance any lift especially across the higher elevations.

Snowfall totals of a dusting to around  2" with a few spots up to 3" are possible for the valleys (below 2000 feet). Any accumulations in the Tri-Cities will be mainly on the grass, cars, decks, and other elevated surfaces.

Snowfall for the middle elevations (2000 to 3000 feet) will likely be 1" to 5" with locally heavier amounts. Our forecast data is indicating quite a bit of snow accumulation is possible above 3000 feet. This would include places like High Knob, Whitetop, and Roan Mountain. Snowfall totals around 3000 to 4000 feet will likely be 3 to 7" with locally heavier amounts. More than 6 inches possible above 4000 feet with mountain tops above 5000 feet possibility getting more than a foot!

Roads across the higher terrain will become hazardous, so be on the alert for snow and ice covered roads in these areas tonight and Saturday. *Snowfall totals will greatly depend on elevation.* Something else worth noting is that power outages and downed trees are possible across the higher terrain. Due to the wet snow falling on trees still covered by foliage, this could become a potential hazard...especially in higher elevations.

Saturday we expect flurries or snow showers in the area. In the valleys, the snow will mix with or change to rain showers during the day while snow showers will continue in the mountains, especially for the snow-prone northwest facing slopes. Gusty winds and cold temperatures will make it feel like winter! Flurries should taper off Saturday evening, as low pressure continues to dive to the southeast.

Clearing skies Sunday. We will be chilly though as the low pressure area with our departing system joins forces with high pressure in the Great Lakes to bring in cold air from the north. Lows Sunday night will likely be in the mid teens to mid 20s, depending on elevation. Wind chills will be a factor through Saturday with wind chills in the 20s for the Tri-Cities and 10s in the mountains at times.

We rebound quickly Monday and Tuesday, as temperatures warm up. The Great Lakes high pressure system slides east and we pick up that warming southerly flow. Highs will be near normal in the afternoons. A new system will increase our chances of rain on Wednesday with mostly cloudy skies.

Don't forget to set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed Saturday night. Daylight saving time ends Sunday morning at 2:00 am. Finally a chance to get back the hour of sleep we lost in back in March!

Highs near 40 Saturday, mid 40s Sunday, and in the 60s Monday through Thursday. Lows will be in the low to mid 30s tonight and 20s Saturday night and Sunday night before warming back into the 30s and low 40s Monday night through Wednesday night.

You can get the latest forecast, radar, and severe weather alerts on News 5, WCYB.com, and on the StormTrack 5 weather app.

Our normal high is 65°, low 39°.

Meteorologist Dave Dierks and David Boyd