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After Thursday/Friday Winter Storm, High Country To Experience Temps Not Felt in Nearly Two Decades


weather 1By Jesse Wood

Jan. 2, 2014. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning, which calls for snow and bitter wind chills in the High Country from Thursday evening to Friday morning, yet perhaps more daunting will be the arctic chill that arrives Monday night with temperatures not felt in more than 15 years.

After the snow and wind, a “sharp cold front” moves in on Sunday night, and temperatures are expected to be well below zero on the mountaintops and single digits in the valleys Monday night and Tuesday, Ray’s Weather Center noted in its forecast discussion on Thursday.

Craig Fisher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, aligned with Ray’s Weather Center’s outlook.

“It’s been quite a while since Boone has seen below zero temperatures and that is certainly a possibility next week,” Fisher said, adding that Boone had a cooperative weather station reading of “basically right at zero degrees” on Jan. 18, 2009.

However, Fisher said that the last time a coop had a below-zero reading in Boone was Jan. 19, 1997.

Come Wednesday temps will warm up, yet it will still be cold – just not “brutally cold,” Ray’s Weather Center noted in its forecast discussion.

Winter Storm Warning
(In effect from 4 p.m. Thursday to 7 a.m. Friday)

The National Weather Service is calling for 2 to 6 inches. Fisher said that Boone will likely see one to three inches with higher amounts at higher elevations on western ridges.

Fischer added that the strong winds with up to 55 mph gusts and blowing snow is the main reason for the storm warning.

The warning calls for visibility to be occasionally below one mile in snow and blowing snow; bitter wind chill readings dropping below zero by Friday; and northwest winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 55 mph.

Watauga County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Sudderth advised residents to monitor road conditions and have extra warm clothes available in case power outages occur due to the high winds. In case travelers are stranded on the roads, Sudderth said motorists would be wise to also carry snack bars, water, flashlights, blankets, sleeping bags and the like.

“For the most part, people in Watauga County are self sufficient and are able to take care of themselves,” Sudderth said. “It’s just a matter of being observant and aware of the weather.”