WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Wythe County emergency management officials are warning local residents to take all necessary precautions as the region will experience another surge of frigid arctic air Wednesday evening, leading Thursday’s high temperature to reach only 2F.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service (NWS) have issued numerous special weather statements for Wythe County and surrounding areas, including a Winter Weather Advisory, which is slated to remain in effect until seven o’clock tonight. NWS has also issued a Wind Chill Advisory and a Hazardous Weather Outlook statement for the region.

According to an NWS statement, Wythe County residents should expect “snow showers and squalls including blowing snow followed by frigid wind chills” this evening and into tonight.

Total additional snowfall amounts are not expected to exceed one inch in most places, though as much as four inches may accumulate along mountain ridges.

The greatest concern for safety officials, however, are the temperatures themselves, which will produce exceptionally low wind chill readings that are expected to bottom out around -30 degrees Fahrenheit tonight and Thursday night.

This evening, residents should expect wind speeds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts during snow squalls reaching up to 50 mph. Today’s regular temperature readings will fall to zero by the evening and drop to 10 below zero tonight.

Visibility will fall to near zero at times within heavier snow showers and squalls.

Tonight’s wind chill temperatures are expected to bottom out between 20 to 30 degrees below zero sometime late tonight and then again Thursday night.

Jason Kinser, Wythe County’s emergency coordinator, is urging county residents to be prepared for frigidly low temperatures over the next couple of days.

“Extremely cold temperatures are a normal part of winter in Southwest Virginia, but if residents fail to take adequate precautions this time of year can be extraordinarily lethal,” said Kinser.

All safety experts agree that the greatest way to stay safe during times of intense cold is simply by avoiding going outside altogether.

“Strong winds will create dangerously low wind chill values. This will result in frost bite and lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken,” stated an official at the National Weather Service.

Residents should also be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities. If driving is absolutely necessary, drivers should exercise extreme caution.

Households are urged to ensure secondary, non-electric sources of heat are in place, should the event of a power outage leave homeowners without electricity.

Wythe County Animal Control officials are reminding county residents to ensure all pets have adequate shelter.

Local residents are also encouraged to proactively check on their neighbors, especially the elderly and handicapped.



WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Wythe County emergency management officials are warning drivers to avoid roadways in the county, as an arctic blast has created numerous driving hazards throughout the region.

By 8 o’clock Saturday evening, the county’s E-911 joint dispatch center had reported several accidents throughout the county, mostly between Rural Retreat and Wytheville along Interstate 81, as well as on Grayson Turnpike between Wytheville and Speedwell.

A combination of snow, high winds and freezing roadways has created hazardous driving conditions throughout Wythe County and neighboring localities.

With county emergency responders working numerous accidents, local officials are advising residents to avoid travel if possible.

Lows through tonight and into tomorrow are expected to reach near-zero temperatures, with a wind-chill bottoming out near -20F.

In addition to creating hazardous driving conditions, the high winds are expected to create additional hazards throughout the region.

According to the National Weather Service, “Strong gusts may down trees and power lines – scattered power outages are likely.”

NWS warns that “sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph are likely… residents should move unfastened items such as garbage cans and deck furniture inside.”

Should unavoidable circumstances require a county resident to travel, they are advised to take certain cold weather precautions. Among these precautions are: Always keep your gas tank full. Make sure your trip is planned and someone knows your route. If your vehicle becomes stranded in the snow in the countryside, do not leave it. Do not attempt to walk to a home in the middle of a snowstorm and strong winds. Periodically run the vehicle engine and heater, but make sure you open your window a crack and make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, make sure you tie a red or orange rag to the vehicle radio antenna so that others may see your vehicle better. Each winter, make sure you have updated your vehicle winter storm survival kit. Fully check and winterize your vehicle before winter. Pack extra blankets or sleeping bags.

The following items should be in your vehicle at all times during the winter:
Flashlight with extra batteries
First aid Kit
High calories non-perishable food
Water proof matches
A bag of sand or kitty litter.
Windshield scraper and brush
Booster cables
Road Maps
Cell phone charger and extra battery

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WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Over the past several years the Wythe County Department of Parks & Recreation has hosted an annual Bob Ross Painting Class for local residents to enjoy.

The one-day, five-hour long session has typically been held in Max Meadows and seen capacity crowds each year.

Recognizing the popularity of the classes, which are equipped to handle the semi-professional painter as well as those with no painting experience whatsoever, county officials say they will be offering two Bob Ross Painting Classes this spring.

The first class will be held on Sunday, March 8, 2015, inside the Max Meadows Ruritan Building.

Participants in this session will be painting “Seascape,” a landscape scene along a beach which features a decaying and sand swept wooden fence leading into the ocean.

The second class of the season will be held on the western side of the county inside the Rural Retreat Community Center on Sunday, April 12.

Those who attend the painting session in Rural Retreat will work on Ross’ “Rolling Hills” painting. This image features an orange sky hovering over foggy blue mountains and a pond whose surroundings are in full bloom.
Both classes will be led by certified Bob Ross instructor Judy Moore-Gist and are scheduled to last from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.

In addition to having hosted numerous painting classes in Wythe County, Moore-Gist was recently tasked with leading the Blue Ridge PBS 2014 Bob Ross Painting Class at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke.

Cost to attend either class is $65.00 and will cover all materials. The minimum age for those wishing to attend is 15.

Parks and recreation officials are warning the general public that limited seating is available for the classes and are urging those interested to register for either class as soon as possible – admittance to the class will be on a first to register basis.

Individuals wishing to register for either or both of the classes are urged to contact the Wythe County Department of Parks & Recreation as soon as possible (276-223-4519) or email Kevin Williams at [email protected].

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Wythe County Youth Day at WCC Basketball Game this Saturday

WYTHEVILLE, Va. – This weekend the Wytheville Community College Wildcats will be taking on Caldwell Community College in a game that will determine the second place finisher in the NJCAA’s Tarheel Conference.

The Wildcats will enter Saturday’s game with an overall record of 14-10, fresh off a 95-82 victory against Central Carolina in a game that was played in Wytheville last Saturday.

With no additional conference games left on the schedule, Saturday’s game will decide the regular season finishing order for the seven member basketball conference – which includes all Division III NJCAA teams from West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

In an effort to showcase the team’s successes to the local community they represent, as well as recognize youth-athletes, the Wytheville Community College Men’s Basketball program has designated Saturday’s game as “Youth Basketball Day” and will be honoring all Wythe County youth basketball teams at halftime.

As an added bonus to county residents, admission to the game is free for everyone.

“We’re excited to have the youth come out to watch us play,” said Wytheville Community College head basketball coach Tyler Cannoy.

Cannoy, who is a Wythe County native, went on to say, “this is a great opportunity for our youth athletes to see good basketball without having to leave town.”

Scotty Vaught, youth sports coordinator for Wythe County Department of Parks & Recreation agrees.

“The young men who play for Wytheville Community College represent our community very well and we appreciate the opportunity to expose our young athletes to such great role models.”

Saturday’s game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. and will be held inside the Wytheville Community Center. The community center is located behind the Wytheville Community College.

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WYTHEVILLE, Va. – This past week, Wythe County’s emergency coordinator Jason Kinser presented members of the Wytheville Fire Department with a thermal imaging camera.

The handheld, heat resistant device can be used to aid firefighters in navigating through places where zero visibility exists, such as inside a smoke-filled building.

The rescue device was made possible thanks to a Wythe—Bland Foundation grant secured by the Wythe County Board of Supervisors. In total, the grant has provided funding to purchase mobile and portable radios, helmets, scene lighting, personal protective equipment, and a handful of other items emergency responders say will prove invaluable in their efforts to protect the lives and property of Wythe County citizens.

According to county officials, the portable camera will be able to provide “crisp images” of smoke filled rooms and other places where no light exists.

“Visibility is absolutely non-existent inside a smoke-filled room,” says Kinser, who is wrapping up his second full month on the job as Wythe County’s emergency coordinator.

“This camera will actually be able to paint a real-time moving picture for our firefighters so that they can navigate through smoking buildings — aiding them in rescue operations.”

“Fire departments in Wythe County date back to before 1835 and the ever evolving role of the men and women who serve in these departments has made it necessary for their equipment to change as well,” stated Wythe County grant coordinator Jeremy T.K. Farley, adding, “The Wythe—Bland Foundation, along with the three local governments serving our citizens, has recognized this fact and the people who call this wonderful area home have benefited from this strong partnership.”

In total, the six fire departments serving Wythe County are responsible for protecting more than $2.6 Billion worth of property.

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