Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 5, 2014

Temperatures expected to plummet across region

BLUEFIELD — With temperatures dropping below zero Monday night, officials are warning  residents to be cautious about staying outside for to long.

The National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., is advising citizens to dress in layers.

“Wear a couple of light layers such as a T-shirt, sweatshirt and jacket and wear performance fabric if possible. Keep all exposed skin covered and keep hands and feet warm. Staying dry also ensures that you will stay warmer,” meteorologist Mike Sporer said.

Frostbite can occur in a matter of minutes, especially with the wind blowing, Sporer said.

“If you do have to work outside, go inside often to warm up and keep a hat or hood on your head,” Sporer said.

And Sporer reminded people not to forget about pets.

“Even though pets do fairly well in cold temperatures, if you can bring them inside or even put them on a porch out of the elements helps them a lot,” Sporer said.

Sporer said pet owners should provide a blanket and keep fresh water available.

The National Weather Service says temperatures in northern West Virginia are expected to plunge to 10 to 15 degrees below zero Monday night. Wind chills could reach minus 25 to minus 35.

Mercer, Summers and Greenbrier counties in southeastern West Virginia could see 3 to 5 inches of snow. The weather service says temperatures of zero to minus 10 degrees are expected by late Monday through Tuesday. Wind chills could reach minus 20 to minus 30 degrees.

The weather service says the frigid air could break cold temperature records in the Eastern Panhandle.

Other parts of West Virginia could see wind chills below zero and several inches of snow.

Freezing rain or drizzle is expected Sunday in many areas.

Some areas in Virginia could also see record-breaking cold temperatures as well when a frigid air mass hits the state.

The National Weather Service says temperatures in parts of Northern and Central Virginia could be the coldest in 20 years. The temperature in Winchester could drop to minus 4 degrees Monday night, while Dale City could see a low of 2 degrees.

In Southwest Virginia, 3 to 5 inches of snow are expected in Tazewell and Bland counties. Temperatures could fall to zero to minus 10 degrees by Tuesday morning. Wind chills may reach minus 10 to minus 30 degrees.

Single-digit temperatures are expected in other parts of Virginia by Tuesday morning. Wind chills may reach zero to minus 10 degrees.

Freezing rain is possible in many areas on Sunday morning.

The Bluefield Union Mission has also seen a steady stream of people over the past few days.

“We have been crazy busy handing out kerosene vouchers, blankets, coats, wood and warm-up kits,” Craig Hammond, director of the Bluefield Union Mission, said.

The warm-up kits provide hand warmers, stocking cap and thermal blanket for emergencies, Hammond said.

“The food demands have also been quite steady and we plan to see it continue,” Hammond said.

With cold temperatures like these, the school officials also are watching the weather to make sure students stay safe.

“We will not make our decision until late Sunday night or Monday morning about whether or not to cancel school or have a two-hour delay,” Mercer County School Superintendent Deborah Akers said.

The call of whether to cancel or not will depend on how low the temperatures goes, what the wind chill factor is and how much it is suppose to warm up during the day, Akers said.

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