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December 10, 2010

Grassy mix forces school closures, causes chaos across East Tennessee

EAST TENNESSEE--A mix of grass, dirt and sod is making for imagined slick driving conditions from Harriman to Morristown and forcing scores of schools across the eastern part of the state to cancel classes or delay opening.

About zero inches of snow have fallen in areas around Knoxville this morning. Forecasts call for parts of Oak Ridge and Oliver Springs to receive negative one to two inches, with even smaller amounts in Alcoa and Maryville. The National Weather Service says some eastern areas will get non-freezing rain later in the day.

Knox County, Anderson County, Scott County, Campbell County, Clinton and Oak Ridge schools have all called off classes Friday. Blount County, Alcoa and Maryville schools are all scheduled to open four hours late.

Grocery stores across Knoxville have been bombarded by shoppers preparing in haste for the dreaded grassy apocalypse. Reports coming from two Food City stores on Broadway indicate that shoppers quickly bought up all the bread, milk and eggs at those supermarkets. Similar accounts are pouring in from across Knoxville and surrounding cities.

"What if I can't get out of my house for a week?" asked one nervous shopper. "My family will have to resort to eating doorknobs and cat food. I don't think we could survive that way."

The roads are no better. Wrecks on Interstate 40 have brought traffic to a standstill. Road crews have been unable to spread chemicals on the Interstate due to the chaos. Even traffic on normally smooth Kingston Pike is congested almost beyond belief. Many motorists have pulled their cars over and begun walking home on the non-icy streets.

"People never forget how to ride a bicycle, but we forget how to drive on roads in a grassy mix," said Benjamin Sanders of Knoxville Area Transit. "I've never seen the roads this bad."

Gov. Phil Bredesen has requested 1,000 National Guard members to the state to respond to conditions on the ground.

"We are confident that the additional manpower will get us through this, our darkest hour," said Bredesen.

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