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To Cold To Handle: Coldest West Jefferson’s Been on Feb. 20 Since At Least 1896, 119 Years Ago


By Jesse Wood

For the second day in a row, the weather was record breaking. On Friday morning, residents of the High Country – and beyond – woke up to subzero temperatures and record lows for Feb. 20.

Several of the towns or communities experienced temperatures for this date – Feb. 20 – that haven’t been felt in decades or, at least in one case, more than a century.

West Jefferson in Ashe County had a low of -3.5 degrees at 6:48 a.m. on Friday morning. The previous low for Feb. 20 was 2 degrees – back in 1896, according to archives at RaysWeather.com.

Banner Elk had a low temperature of -5.5 this morning, topping the previous record of 0 degrees set on Feb. 20, 1934. That same year on the same day, Boone had a low of 4 degrees. On Friday morning, Boone had a low temperature of -4.1 degrees, according to data compiled at RaysWeather.com.

Other lows on Friday morning:

  • App Ski Mtn: -7.5
  • Beech Mountain: -13.5, (-2, 1993)
  • Foscoe: -3.3,
  • Newland: -6.3
  • Snake Mountain: – 11.7
  • Valle Crucis: -2
  • Seven Devils: -5.5
  • Sugar Mountain (Top) -12.9
  • Zionville: -5.9

And these low temperatures don’t even factor in the wind chill, which made the bitter cold even more treacherous the last few days. Take Grandfather Mountain for example:

Since Tuesday at 5 a.m., Grandfather Mountain’s wind chill has been below zero degrees for all but three hours, when it was 6.7 degrees, 1.2 degrees and 0.5 degrees during recorded intervals from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, according to the CRONOS database on the State Climate Office website.

While it’s still going to be chilly for the foreseeable future – minus the balmy 45 high that is expected on Sunday – the National Weather Service’s wind chill warning expired this morning at 10 a.m.

Yet just as this warning expired, the National Weather Service issued a winter-storm warning, calling for two to five inches of snow, plus one-tenth of an inch of ice through early Sunday morning.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect from RaysWeather.com:

“The action doesn’t slow down…clouds increase this evening and light snow breaks out late tonight into Saturday morning. Temperatures slowly rise Saturday making for a transition to a wintry mix then to all rain by Saturday night (think everything and the kitchen sink). This isn’t a ‘big snow’ event with the bulk of the moisture falling as rain, which continues into Sunday. In fact, Sunday will be the mildest day in recent memory. The mild-up is short lived, colder air arrives Sunday night with flurries or snow showers.”

For more details and information, click to RaysWeather.com.

Also, check out the RaysWeather.com mobile app, where you can access a seven-day forecast instead of the five-day that is currently available on the website. It’s available for Android and Apple.