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Cold, Wind Forces Both Watauga and Avery County Schools to Delay; Could Be More Delays This Week

By Paul T. Choate

Jan. 22, 2013. It’s not often that simply cold weather alone delays school — especially in the High Country. But that is exactly what happened today, with schools in both Watauga and Avery delaying two hours due to the extreme cold and the wind chill. 

The High Country is under a wind chill advisory until noon, with wind chills said to get as low as 5 to 10 degrees below zero. However, according to Marshall Ashcraft, WCS public information director, it is uncommon for school to delay due to cold weather alone. 

“The reason was that the extreme cold was such that there was concern about having the younger children waiting at bus stops in the dark with the wind chill subzero,” Ashcraft said, adding that the school determined that the level of exposure could have potentially been dangerous to small children. 

Prior to making the decision to delay, principals of the local schools in Watauga were polled on what they thought about it by Supt. David Kafitz, Ashcraft said. Ultimately, the majority of principals felt the delay was a good idea. 

Prepare yourselves for a cold one folks. School may be in session now, but according to Ray’s Weather Center the thermometers are not going to reach any higher than 20 degrees all day today. In fact, it’s going to be a cold week in general, with the temperature not expected to get above 30 degrees all week and a low of single digits on Saturday.

Ashcraft also said that due to the ongoing cold there could be future delays this week.

To keep up with the local weather and to find out about closings in your area, visit raysweather.com

UPDATE: As of 10:24 a.m., the wind chill advisory has been cancelled in Watauga and Ashe counties.