Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 22, 2014

Arctic air to hit region through the week

BLUEFIELD — First the heavy snow. Now the bitter cold.

One day after a winter storm dumped several inches of snow across the region, the mercury is now plummeting. And forecasters say the arctic air will remain in place throughout the remainder of the work week.

“We will be waking up (today) to temperatures well into the single digits,” Mike Sporer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., said.

A daytime high of only about 17 degrees is expected today, and temperatures tonight will fall to about 9 degrees. And the polar air will stick around. A daytime high of only 15 degrees is expected Thursday with a low of 4 degrees. The mercury won’t climb above freezing until Saturday before tumbling again Sunday.

Motorists should be alert to black ice as snow melts and refreezes along secondary routes, West Virginia Division of Highways District 10 Administrator Tom Camden said.

“Once it gets around 15 degrees or so, salt becomes fairly ineffective,” Camden said. “We can continue to put out abrasives, which helps to some degree with traction and that sort of thing. Initially we concentrate on the primary roads and the main arteries through the county. However, once we get those in fairly good shape, we can start to concentrate on the secondary roads.”

But until all roads can be fully treated, Camden said motorists should be cautious — particularly along secondary roads — to the threat of black ice.

The snow came fast and heavy Tuesday afternoon causing traffic woes across the region. A section of the southbound lane of U.S. Route 52 near Tank Hill in McDowell County had to be closed for a period of time Tuesday due to dangerous road conditions, according to the county’s 911 center.

Sporer said snowfall totals Tuesday in the region averaged from about 3 to 4 inches with higher accumulations north of Princeton, including the Flat Top area.

Temperatures will climb to about 33 degrees on Saturday — the first day the region will get above freezing. However, temperatures will then fall back into the 20s Sunday and Monday. Sporer said long-term forecast models aren’t suggesting a significant warming trend until the end of the month.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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