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.
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