Back in the Tonight Show heydays of Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon would often ask: “How cold is it?”

The question gave Carson a chance to offer the funny line of his monologue during the winter months.

How cold is it on this Wednesday morning?

Cold enough to close schools in Floyd County for the third straight day this week. While Floyd schools closed, Montgomery, Franklin, Patrick and Carroll counties delayed school openings for two hours.

Floyd County’s closings brought sneers on social media.

“Closing for cold weather? Give me a break,” posted one county resident on Facebook Tuesday night.  “It’s not that cold.”

Which brings back the question: How cold is it?

Nowadays, our smartphones and computers tell us exactly how cold the morning is. Our readout at home on this Wednesday morning is 15 degrees fahrenheit with a windchill of four degrees.

Cold? Yes, but not the coldest day of the year. That was a week or so ago when the thermometer read four degrees above zero and the child chill registered about 17 degrees below.

Wednesday night, however, could see a similar pattern with a low in single digits with wind chills below zero.

Advises the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg:

…WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO NOON EST THURSDAY… * WHAT…VERY COLD WIND CHILLS EXPECTED. WIND CHILLS AS LOW AS -20F EXPECTED. * WHERE…PORTIONS OF SOUTHWEST AND WEST CENTRAL VIRGINIA, NORTHWEST NORTH CAROLINA AND SOUTHEAST WEST VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO NOON EST THURSDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…THE COLD WIND CHILLS CAN RESULT IN FROSTBITE ON EXPOSED SKIN IN AS LITTLE AS 15 TO 30 MINUTES. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WIND CHILL ADVISORY MEANS THAT COLD AIR AND WIND WILL COMBINE TO CREATE LOW WIND CHILLS. FROSTBITE AND HYPOTHERMIA CAN OCCUR IF PROPER PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN. MAKE SURE YOU WEAR A HAT AND GLOVES AND SEVERAL LAYERS OF CLOTHING. &&

More Information

…DANGEROUSLY LOW WIND CHILLS EXPECTED TONIGHT INTO THURSDAY… .A SIGNIFICANT SURGE OF ARCTIC AIR WILL FILTER INTO THE REGION TODAY. TEMPERATURES WILL DROP STEADILY THROUGH THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING, BOTTOMING OUT FROM AS LOW AS -5F (5 FAHRENHEIT DEGREES BELOW ZERO FAHRENHEIT DEGREES) IN THE WEST TO +10F IN THE SOUTHEAST EARLY THURSDAY. NORTHWEST WINDS WILL INCREASE THIS MORNING AND BECOME STRONG AND GUSTY THROUGH THE AFTERNOON INTO THE EVENING, AND REMAIN BRISK EVEN INTO EARLY THURSDAY. THE COMBINATION OF THE VERY COLD TEMPERATURES AND STRONG, GUSTY WINDS WILL RESULT IN VERY LOW AND POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS THIS EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING. WHILE THE COLDEST WIND CHILLS THIS MORNING INTO THE AFTERNOON ARE EXPECTED AT ELEVATIONS ABOVE 3500 FEET, MANY AREAS ALONG AND WEST OF THE BLUE RIDGE TONIGHT INTO THURSDAY MORNING WILL EXPERIENCE DANGEROUSLY LOW WIND CHILLS AS LOW AS -15F (15 FAHRENHEIT DEGREES BELOW 0 FAHRENHEIT), AND AS LOW AS -25F IN WESTERN GREENBRIER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA. FURTHER EAST ACROSS THE VIRGINIA PIEDMONT AND SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIA, WIND CHILL VALUES WILL DROP AS LOW AS -5F TO +5F OVERNIGHT AND INTO EARLY THURSDAY MORNING WITH WIND CHILL READINGS ACROSS THE NORTH CAROLINA PIEDMONT AND FOOTHILLS MOSTLY IN THE +5F TO +10F RANGE, WHICH IS JUST ABOVE CRITICAL CRITERIA LEVELS. IF YOU PLAN TO BE OUTSIDE TODAY, TONIGHT, OR THURSDAY, PLEASE TAKE THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS AGAINST THE BITTER COLD CONDITIONS.

It’s cold, says Roanoke Times weather guru Kevin Myatt, but it has been colder:

Temperatures on Thursday morning here may actually be fairly similar to what we experienced just 10 days before on Jan. 21, when Roanoke fell to 10, Blacksburg to 2, and Copper Hill in Floyd County bottomed out at minus 4.

Meteorological memories often seem to be short, but our region has experienced some pretty serious Arctic outbreaks in recent years, more so than in most of the two decades prior.

Record breaking or not, it is cold outside and weather like this could create problems like frozen water pipes. Please take proper precautions, stay warm and keep the water flowing.

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