Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 3, 2014

Winter storm warning in effect for region

BLUEFIELD — More snow, and some of the coldest air of the season, is on the way.

A winter storm warning remains in effect this morning for parts of the region, and a daytime high of only 16 degrees is expected for the Bluefield area. But even colder air is predicted for early next week when the mercury could fall close to zero for the Bluefield area. Forecasters say a second winter storm could impact the region by Sunday night.

Motorists should prepare for a difficult and very cold commute this morning, Mike Sporer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., said.

“By morning the actual air temperature will be around 10 degrees,” Sporer said of the Bluefield area. “The wind-chill will make it feel like 10 below. It is going to be a very cold day with highs in the mid teens.”

But temperatures will rebound into the 40s for Saturday and Sunday before falling again. Sporer said the extended forecast for the region is  “... a bit of a roller coaster.”

A second storm system will bring upslope snow showers — and possibly accumulating snowfall — to the Bluefield area Sunday night into Monday. And then temperatures will tumble.

Although forecast models can still change between now and next week, Sporer said the temperature in the Bluefield area is expected to fall to around zero late Monday night into Tuesday morning.

Daytime temperatures on Tuesday will be around 15 degrees.

“Monday looks cold and Tuesday will be the peak of the cold air,” Sporer said. “By Wednesday we are back to freezing. It doesn’t look like it (the arctic air) will be pretty prolonged but it will be pretty intense.”

Sporer said the bitter cold temperatures are coming from “little surges of arctic air” behind the winter storm systems.

In anticipation of more snow, the AAA Travel Agency in Bluefield issued a press release Thursday saying the agency is anticipating an increase in calls for emergency road service.

According to AAA, motorists traveling on snow-covered roads should increase their following distance by eight to 10 seconds and slow down. Accelerating, stopping and turning all take longer on snow-covered roads.

 AAA also recommends turning off cruise control in vehicles when driving on slippery surfaces and not powering up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads causes wheels to spin, the news release said. As motorists reach the crest of a hill, they should reduce speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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