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Prepare for early winter weather

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - A construction worker transports a load of excavated dirt here Oct. 30, 2014, from the construction site for the new facility at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center. This load is just a small portion of the estimated 7,000 cubic yards of projected soil movement. The dirt is being stored on base for use in future building projects. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jerry D. Harlan/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - A construction worker transports a load of excavated dirt here Oct. 30, 2014, from the construction site for the new facility at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center. This load is just a small portion of the estimated 7,000 cubic yards of projected soil movement. The dirt is being stored on base for use in future building projects. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jerry D. Harlan/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- Winter weather watches, warnings or advisories can be announced here weeks ahead of winter's official arrival.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today that the Blount County Smoky Mountain Region and other areas could see significant snowfall accumulations and hazardous roads late Halloween night and into Saturday. The powerful low-pressure system moving through the southern Appalachians this weekend also mean air temperatures may drop below freezing.   

Safety officials at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center reminded students and staff not to underestimate the effects of fall weather in East Tennessee.

"Ice is specifically important," said Master Sgt. Don Pierson, TEC's safety manager. "There could be ice on the campus walkways."

Pierson suggested that students and staff take a winter safety mindset early by checking the weather before outdoor activities, especially when sightseeing in the Smoky Mountains.

For example, NOAA's current snowfall predictions for the region tonight vary from rain to eight inches of snow within a short driving distance of the TEC campus, depending on the elevation.

"Let someone know where you are, and keep an emergency kit in your car with a blanket, food, water, flashlight, ice scraper and other supplies," said Pierson.