ELKINS - After Thursday's blast of snow, extreme cold is set to enter the area today, with a second round of frosty temperatures slated for early next week.
As the snow begins to slow down today, the temperatures will drop with it, officials from the National Weather Service said. An overnight low could get down to as low as zero degrees with a wind chill of -12 degrees, officials said.
Blowing snow and wind, especially in the higher elevations, will be cause for even lower wind chills in some areas, Ken Batty, staff meteorologist for the NWS in Charleston, said Thursday. He urged local residents to use caution and be prepared for to handle cold temperatures.
"Use extra precaution, and if you are traveling, don't assume that you will be able to stay in the warmth of your vehicle," Batty said. "If your vehicle were to break down, be prepared for cold temperatures as extreme cold can take a toll on vehicle batteries."
The weather is expected to improve throughout the weekend with dryer conditions and temperatures flirting with 40 degrees on Saturday in the Tygart River Valley, according to the NWS forecast. Sunday is predicted to feature a mix of rain and snow with little to no accumulation expected.
A second wave of lower temperatures will hit early next week, bringing bitter cold back into the area.
"The second wave of cold temperatures looks to be stronger than the first one," Batty said. The NWS is calling for a high of 21 degrees on Monday, with a frigid overnight low of -10 degrees. Snow showers are possible, with a 40 percent chance of precipitation.
Temperatures are projected to be in the single digits through most of the area Tuesday with raw temperatures between -15 and -20 degrees at dawn in higher terrain - above 3,500 feet - such as Canaan Valley and Snowshoe.
"The Elkins area gets below-zero temperatures every year but a lot of places in the Mountain State don't," added Batty. "We are overdue."
As of late Thursday evening, public schools in Upshur, Lewis and Pocahontas counties were closed for Friday, with 2-hour delays announced for Randolph, Barbour, Tucker, Grant and Hardy counties.