With low temperatures running four to six degrees below zero and wind chills ranging from 25 to 30 below because of bitterly cold winds, area residents braced for frozen water pipes and cars that might not start Tuesday morning.
Schools in many Southwestern Virginia counties and communities, including Floyd County and nearby areas, announced Monday that they would be closed for Tuesday, citing the freezing weather and related problems, including the difficulty of starting many older diesel-fueled school buses in bitter cold.
With highs Tuesday projected only in the lower teens, the Blue Ridge finds itself in the grip of winter but while the thermometer dipped below zero for the first time in several years, the area was not facing the bitter arctic blast that has sent temperatures plummeting into double digits below zero, several feet of snow on frozen tundra and wind chills as low as minus 45.
Some parts of New England could face up to 72 inches of snow and while those who ventured out in Southwestern Virginia Monday night show snow flurries the ground, while frozen, remains most clear of white stuff.
The Virginia Department of Health offers this advice to dealing with today’s arctic weather:
- Wear cold weather appropriate clothing like gloves/mittens, hats, scarves and snow boots. Dress in several layers of loose-fitting clothing and cover your face and mouth if possible.
- Be aware of the wind chill factor. Wind can cause body-heat loss.
- Stay dry, and if you become wet, remove any wet clothing immediately.
- Limit your time outdoors.
- Do not ignore shivering. It’s an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.
- If the heat in your home doesn’t work properly, contact your local government to find a warming center near you.