NWS: Strong Winds May Lead to Power Outages; 1-2 Inches of Snow Possible

The National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Virginia, is forecasting “mountain upslope snow showers” tonight and early Friday, with the greatest amounts of snowfall to occur north of Bluefield in the West Virginia highlands.

For the most part, residents in eastern Wythe County are expected to be spared from significant accumulation, with NWS officials forecasting less than an inch of accumulation for Wytheville and communities to the east.

On the other hand, places west of the county-seat, such as Rural Retreat, Crockett and Speedwell, may see snowfall amounts closer to two inches.

In addition to the snowfall and strong cold front that will  cross through the region Thursday, a quick surge in west winds will accompany the front with gusts to 50 mph or stronger possible.

“Much colder air following the front will combine with an increasing pressure gradient to keep periods of very strong northwest winds going tonight into Friday,” stated the National Weather Service in a wind advisory issued early Thursday morning.

The National Weather Service is advising that strong winds could topple trees and power lines, leading to potential power outages through the region.

Due to the threat of potential power outages, the county is urging its citizens to be prepared by having safe alternative heat sources in place, an emergency preparedness kit which includes a flashlight, batteries, etc., and fully charged cell phones.

The weather service is also encouraging residents to be mindful of their holiday decorations, which could be blown away during the increased windstorm expected over the next 24 hours.

Wythe County to Offer Open Gym & Fitness Classes at Sheffey This January

This week, Wythe County Parks & Recreation announced that the department would be offering open gym for basketball and walking at Sheffey Community Gym beginning on Saturday, January 21st and then throughout February and into the spring.  The gymnasium will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon.

In addition to open gym hours, the county’s Parks & Recreation Department will also be offering two separate fitness classes for the community:

Fusion Fit Classes will be held at 6 p.m. every Monday and Thursday starting on Thursday, January 19th and are slated to end in early-March.  The one-hour session will utilize light weights, which will be provided, and cardio.

Functionally Fit Class will be held at 5 p.m. every Thursday starting on Thursday, January 19th and is also slated to end in early-March.  This class is aimed at specifically helping adults 50-years-old and older stay in shape and maintain a health, active lifestyle.

Because space is limited for both classes, individuals wishing to participate are encouraged to register by contacting Kevin Williams (276-223-4519 or [email protected]).  Cost to participate in this program is only $10 per session.

“During the winter months, people often get discouraged and become less active.  Our goal for this program is to help the people of the local community stay active and assist them in making healthy lifestyle choices through the early months of the year,” said Kevin Williams, director of the county’s Parks & Recreation Department.

Additional information concerning activities at the Sheffey Community Gym, including a calendar of events, will be available to the public on the official Facebook page of the Sheffey Community Gym: Facebook.com/SheffeyGym

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Light Freezing Rain Possible for Wythe County Saturday Morning

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – The National Weather Service is warning that light freezing rain, perhaps starting as light sleet, will develop in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Friday evening and will spread northeast,
primarily east of I-77, during Saturday’s pre-dawn hours.

“Precipitation amounts will be very light, with only a couple of hundredths of an inch of precipitation expected,” stated Phil Hysell of the National Weather Service.

Though this morning’s forecast is predicting lower precipitation amounts and warmer temperatures than was earlier believed, the county’s emergency management team wishes to remind residents that any precipitation falling on cold surfaces will result in spotty icing, especially on elevated surfaces like bridges and overpasses, if untreated.

It is for these reasons that the county’s citizens are encouraged to remain cautious if traveling Friday and Saturday, allowing for additional travel time to their destinations.

Fortunately, the National Weather Service is forecasting for the light precipitation to change to light rain or end by mid to late morning Saturday as temperatures climb well into the 40s and lower 50s.

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“When You Say Nothing at All” Songwriter to Perform in Wytheville this Weekend

Alison Krauss performing “When You Say Nothing at All” Photo Courtesy: Josh Rhinehart
Alison Krauss performing “When You Say Nothing at All”
Photo Courtesy: Josh Rhinehart

This Saturday evening, award-winning Nashville songwriters Paul Overstreet and Brett James will be hosting a unique performance at the George Wythe High School.

The duo have written dozens of iconic, chart-topping country hits over the past three decades and this weekend, they’ll not only be performing the songs they’ve written, but also sharing the fascinating stories surrounding each song’s creation.

The pair’s songs include hits by Kenny Chesney (She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy and Out Last Night), as well as Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean, George Jones, Blake Shelton and Randy Travis (On the Other Hand, Diggin up Bones, and Forever and Ever, Amen).

Overstreet, who was once married to Dolly Parton’s sister, began his career in the early 1980s and has written or co-written 27 Top Ten songs. During this time, he has won two Grammy Awards and also ACM and CMA Song of the Year Awards (1987 and 1988).  He is perhaps best known for writing Forever and Ever, Amen and On the Other Hand, both of which were number one songs for Randy Travis.

The Mississippi native also co-wrote When You Say Nothing at All, which was a number one hit at the end of 1988 for Keith Whitley and later propelled newcomer Alison Krauss to stardom.

Overstreet and Don Schlitz came up with When You Say Nothing at All at the end of an otherwise unproductive day. Strumming a guitar, trying to write their next song, they were coming up empty. “As we tried to find another way to say nothing, we came up with the song,” Overstreet later told author Ace Collins. They thought the song was okay, but nothing special. “But when Keith Whitley heard it, he loved it, and was not going to let it get away.”  

Whitley had already passed on a previous Overstreet-Schlitz composition that became a No. 1 hit for another artist – Randy Travis’ On the Other Hand. Whitley did not plan to let “When You Say Nothing at All” meet the same fate.

Sadly, Whitley died in 1989, the year following the release of When You Say Nothing at All.

Five years following Whitley’s death, 23-year-old bluegrass fiddler and vocalist, Alison Krauss, recorded the song for a tribute album to Whitley.  

After Krauss’s cover began to receive unsolicited airplay, BNA Records, the label that had released the album, issued Krauss’ version to radio in January 1995.  

Its success, as well as that of the album, caught Krauss by surprise. “It’s a freak thing,” she told a Los Angeles Times reporter in March 1995. “It’s kinda ticklin’ us all. We haven’t had anything really chart before. At all. Isn’t it funny though? We don’t know what’s goin’ on….The office said, ‘Hey, it’s charting,’ and we’re like, ‘Huh?'”

Also performing at this weekend’s concert will be Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer Brett James.

In 2009, James achieved the Music Row “Triple Play,” an award for three #1 songs in a single chart year, not once, but twice! His six number one hits included It’s America, Rodney Atkins; Out Last Night, Kenny Chesney; Cowboy Cassanova, Carrie Underwood; Summer Nights, Rascal Flatts; The Truth, Jason Aldean; and The Man I Want To Be, Chris Young.

James’ other hits include Jesus Take the Wheel, Who I am, and Martina McBride’s Blessed.

The concert, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 10, will be held at George Wythe High School’s auditorium and will serve as a fundraiser for the APEX Center, a +2,000 seat arena that will be constructed near Fort  Chiswell.

“This weekend’s show will provide only a small taste of the type of events the APEX Center will be hosting on a regular basis,” said Matthew Miller, chairman of the Appalachian Expo (APEX) Authority.

Advance tickets are available for purchase ($20 each) at several area locations, including, Guynn Furniture, Wytheville-Wythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce, GWHS FFA, WYVE, Farm Bureau, S&W Fertilizer, Farm Credit, Town of Wytheville Office, Farmers Milling, First Bank & Trust, RRHS FFA, Dutch Pantry, FCHS Senior Class and FM94.

Tickets will also be sold at the door.

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