Yes, the snow Tuesday caused a surprise chaos in the Tennessee Valley.
No preparation left many folks stranded on roads along with schools scrambling to get students home safely. Jeff Tate, Chattanooga said, "Its very bad out here. The roads are bad and it's very unexpected, so its bad." Unexpected and bad; Jeff's summary of Tuesday's surprise snow opens the door to the question many are asking on social media and otherwise, 'how did Meteorologist's miss this?'
Patrick Core, WDEF News 12 Chief Meteorologist said, "A couple of things we were confident of. There was going to be a winter storm, and that there was going to be cold arctic air over our area." One important parameter Monday night was the expected subzero dewpoint. We expected the air at the surface to be just too dry for moisture, snow, to hit the ground, even though temps were expected to be in the teens.
That's right in line with what the folks at T-Dot were seeing. Jennifer Flynn, TDOT spokesperson said, "We weren't thinking there was going to be a lot of accumulation, but we wouldn't have brined anyway because brine is a salt water solution that can keep snow and ice a slushy state down to about 25 degrees and the temperature was a lot lower than that."
Computer weather models consistently showed most of the Gulf moisture would stay safely out of the Tennessee Valley. Core said, "Normally, normally when you get cold arctic air entrenched into our air its very, very hard for moisture get back in from the south." We did see hints late Monday that the moisture was pushing farther north, but still thought the cold, dry arctic air would leave us with only flurries or patchy light snow at most.
Patrick Core, WDEF News 12 Chief Meteorologist said, "Weather is not an exact science. But with the information that we had that night, with the experience that we had of knowing what kind of weather systems we were dealing with, I would probably predict the same thing that we predicted for that Tuesday. We thought we had the right forecast and we will stick with that."