Cold snap!

Published 10:27 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sunny and cold…yes; a chance at an early white Christmas….maybe.

An Arctic air mass is predicted to overspread the local region today (Thursday) through Friday and bring with it a slight chance of frozen precipitation.

The National Weather Service Office in Wakefield, VA is saying that today’s forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 39 degrees. It will be extremely breezy with a northwest wind 11 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. That wind chill will make it feel more like in the 20’s.

The wind is expected to ease off Thursday night, but it will be downright cold, with a low temperature in the mid-teens.

Friday’s high temp may not exceed the freezing mark (32 degrees).

A weak low pressure system may develop and with the cold air in place there is a chance for some sleet sometimes after midnight Friday. The low temperature at that time is expected in the mid 20’s.

It will warm up a bit on Saturday, but the precipitation is expected to linger. Saturday’s high is expected in the mid to upper 50’s with a 40 percent chance of rain.

Showers are expected on Sunday with a high nearing 70 degrees.

With tonight’s sub-freezing forecast, area residents are encouraged to protect their water pipes and also make sure their outdoor pets are able to keep warm.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.

Primary precautions homeowners should take, even in mobile and modular homes, are:

Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.

When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.

Make sure your foundation vents and other access points are closed.

Unhook water hoses from any outside spigots.

Those using alternative sources to heat their homes (electrical space heaters, kerosene heaters, etc.) are reminded to make sure they leave a water facet dripping. The heating sources mentioned do not serve as a radiant source of heat underneath a home where water lines are located. Plumbing protection is needed in extreme cold conditions.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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