The Knoxville area could see up to an inch and a half of rain, with a slight chance of more dangerous weather, as the remnants of Hurricane Laura move through East Tennessee overnight Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
Scattered showers are possible throughout the day Friday. High school football tonight may be spared, as the remnants of the storm aren’t expected to arrive until around midnight, said Kyle Snowdin, a meteorologist with the NWS in Morristown.
“As we approach later in the evening and towards the overnight hours into Saturday morning, that’s where we’re going to be expecting the remnants of Laura to approach our area and seeing some heavier showers where we get some localized flooding of low-lying areas and areas with poor drainage,” Snowdin said.
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Laura, which ranked as one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the United States, was blamed for six deaths as it swept across Louisiana and parts of Texas on Thursday. By Friday, the storm had weakened into a tropical depression, and the National Hurricane Center was warning of possible tornadoes Friday evening across parts of the Mid-South and Tennessee Valley regions.
For the Knoxville area, Snowdin on Friday morning described the risk of a possible tornado as minimal and said that any tornado would likely be “isolated, weak and brief.” Chances for a twister are thought to be greatest in the western part of East Tennessee, he said, naming Bledsoe, Hamilton and Roane counties.
Chances for a tornado also are expected to be higher in parts of Middle Tennessee. The NWS has issued a tornado watch for areas including Lawrenceburg, Columbia, Nashville and Clarksville.
Knoxville and its surrounding counties may see an inch to an inch and a half of rain, with isolated lightning and thunder, before Sunday morning. Wind gusts in the valley are expected to reach speeds of 20-30 mph — generally not fast enough to worry about downed trees and other damage. But Snowdin said people should still take precautions by making sure they have multiple ways to receive weather alerts and updates.
The chance of rain in Knoxville is expected to taper off by Saturday afternoon.