The hardships of winter

For some Floyd County residents, particularly newcomers, the winter of 2009-10 is harsh reality setting in about the downside of living in the mountains.

For others it is a reminder that this is more like how winters used to be around here.

Milder winters of the last few years brought on short memories. We forgot that winter in the hills can be brutal: snow, ice, numbing cold, frozen water pipes and treacherous driving conditions.

It’s been a while since the area got a large snow. Temperatures haven’t dipped below zero for five years. We still haven’t fallen below zero in actual temperatures but brutal cold, combined with gusting winds, produced wind chills that hit 10 degrees below and colder. That, along with prolonged cold and daytime highs that struggled to hit 20 degrees, have left an increasing number of county homes without water because of frozen pipes.

For some, the freeze is so severe that relief may not come until we get at least a week or more of temperatures above freezing. Daytime highs are expected to be in the 40s next week, which could provide some relief but some residents reporting broken pipes along with the freezing so they may get flooded basements and crawl spaces when the thaw comes.

John McEnhill, executive director of The Jacksonville Center, said the art complex’s pipes are frozen solid.

Some residents have also had trouble starting cars because of the week long string of single-digit low temperatures.

Welcome to life in the country.

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10 thoughts on “The hardships of winter”

  1. “global warming” or “climate change?”

    While we won’t see confirmation or know the true significance until it’s to late to moderate the progression of events. The immediate effect on our weather seems to be a result of the ENSO.

    The El Niño Southern Oscillation seems to be responsible for our current weather hardships. A result of sea temperature rise in the Eastern Pacific effecting currents off continental South America; I wish I understood this better.

    At least we had a good hay crop, water tables are recovering and we can all agree the sledding is the best in years.

  2. …why I remember the winter of ’85 when the temps dropped to -25F and stayed below zero for over a week. The inside of the house windows looked like a freezer in need of defrosting. When it finally warmed to 20 degrees it felt like a heat wave! And alot of babies arrived around Thanksgiving ’86!

    I always tell the Floyd-Co enamored and summer-shorts be-clad visitors – come back in February.

  3. From my understanding global warming (happening faster than first expected as evidenced by the arctic melt) is predicted to cause severe weather events of all kinds, with hot places possibly becoming colder and colder places becoming hotter and everything in between.

  4. We are just as likely to have another ice age as we are to have global warming. Climate change has been going on for thousands of years and will continue no matter what humans do. Any honest person will agree that we can’t predict the future of our climate based on what few facts we have now. The best we can do is try to leave our environment cleaner then we found it.

  5. NO!!!!!!!!!


    whenever there is a climate change debate going on I seriously wonder if anyone has every stared at the history of time and seen the ebb and flow so to speak of the climate.

    Or is Discovery, National Geographic, and the History channel lying to us like Fox News? lol

  6. As a “Newbie” to Floyd living, I have to say that it was a surprise to see the neighbors coming up the mountain during the storm to check on us — on horseback! A day after the snow fell, another neighbor dropped by on his tractor to make sure we could get out. Other neighbors came up on ATVs and offered an evening of wine (chilled by the snow), and cheese by candlelight (thanks, AEP). A good woodpile, a few sets of long underwear and neighbors like these, and we should be here for a long, long time…

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© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse