Frigid temperatures will hit area today

By Tim MacVean

Staff Writer

ELKINS – Despite local temperatures being more moderate over the last week, it is not time to put away the winter jackets or pull out your sandals just yet.

Along with the snowfall that entered the area yesterday and last night, we will be receiving another blast of polar air that will cause frigid temperatures.

Officials from the National Weather Service in Charleston said the frigid air will remain, and continue to make it’s way through our area over the next couple days.

Liz Sommerville, staff meteorologist for the NWS is reporting temperatures in the 20s throughout the day today, falling into single digits and possibly negative temperatures in higher elevations overnight. Wind chills also will fall into the negatives through much of the region.

“We are most concerned with the wind chill,” Sommerville said. “Wind chill will be down from -5 to -10 degrees around dawn, when the kids would be waiting for the school bus, in lower elevations. We are looking at a -11 degree wind chill for Elkins overnight.”

Officials from the Randolph County Board of Education said they closely monitor air temperatures and wind chill temperatures to make sure it is safe for students to wait for buses and be transported to school.

Randolph County Superintendent of Schools Terry George said each morning he and board of education director of transportation, Randy Long, get up at 3 a.m. to do weather checks to decide if school needs to be delayed or canceled.

“He (Long) collects temperature readings around the county from the Department of Highways and I check air temperatures and wind chill temperatures,” George said. “If we feel it is a situation where it is too cold for kids to be waiting for buses or for the buses, as diesel fuel can gel up in extreme temperatures, we call a two- hour delay.”

George urged students waiting for the bus in the cold to dress accordingly for the weather and to take precautions to stay warm.

“Students should wear gloves and appropriate winter clothing. They should not have any exposed skin and if they have a scarf or toboggan they should wear those also,” George added.

“It is all based on the safety of student and if we can safely transport the students. Our primary means of deciding (if school will be delayed or canceled) is if it’s safe.”

Temperatures will start to slowly increase by the end of the week as the chance of precipitation decreases tomorrow and Friday.

“Thursday we will see a little bit of a warm up with highs in the 20s and single-digit temperatures overnight,” Sommerville added. “Friday we will be back up into the 30s and start to see the next system start to move in.”

“Thursday and Friday we won’t see much precipitation until Friday afternoon when another system starts to head into the area. We are monitoring it but don’t have any snow totals yet.”

The NWS issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Barbour, Lewis, Randolph and Upshur counties from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. today cautioning about quick-hitting snowfall. Forecasts called for 1 to 3 inches of accumulation in the lowland counties and 3 to 5 inches in the mountainous counties.