Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 6, 2014

‘Historic’ cold coming

BLUEFIELD — Bundle up and hunker down, the National Weather Service says a polar vortex is coming to town.

“It resembles a hurricane, but it’s coming from the poles,” Robert Beasley, senior forecaster with the National Weather Service’s office in Blacksburg, Va., said. “You can expect about 2 to 5 inches of snow by 2 p.m., but because a lot of the moisture will be ice crystals, it won’t accumulate in ways that snow traditionally accumulates.”

Beasley said that the possibility of snow will decrease through the day, with temperatures dropping as low as 6 degrees below zero tonight followed by a high of only about 4 degrees above zero on Tuesday. Beasley said that local temperatures should climb above freezing on Wednesday with mostly sunny skies.

“It’d just be a quick shot or a blast,” Beasley said. “This is our second system this winter, and it is colder than the first. Looking ahead, there is a warming trend for the next two to three weeks before our next system arrives.

“But this is an historic system,” Beasley said. “I’ve been with the National Weather Service for 15 years including a period of time in the Pittsburgh office and this is the first time I’ve seen the Weather Service issue a wind chill warning,” Beasley said. “That’s historic.”

On Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service was posting two warnings including a “Wind Chill Warning” and a “Winter Storm Warning.” In addition, the weather service posted a “Wind Advisory” and an “Hazardous Weather Outlook.”

With a West wind at 16 miles per hour gusting to 26 mph and a -6 degree temperature tonight, the wind chill values will be as low as -26 degrees tonight.

According to the National Weather Service website, day and nighttime temperatures should climb above freezing by Thursday with temperatures in the 50s by next weekend.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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