Fortunately, no precipitation in freezing forecast

Jan. 06, 2014 @ 09:06 PM

Schools will be delayed and Tri-County residents are braced for record-setting temperatures today from a blast of Arctic air dipping across the country, including to the Deep South.

Monday night’s low was forecast at 8 degrees and Tuesday’s high is forecast for 22. The coldest “high” temperature in Vance County ever recorded on Jan. 7 was in 1988, at 26, according to Ashley Hiatt, environmental meteorologist at the State Climate Office of North Carolina.

And Vance isn’t alone. All 100 counties in the state have some kind of alert due to the cold weather. It has been 14 years since the area recorded single-digit temperatures.

Forecasters are calling for frigid conditions throughout today, with a return to more seasonal temperatures later in the week. Precipitation is not expected today.

Wind chill could dip to 0 and the Tri-County was put on advisory Monday. The combination of extremely cold air and strong winds can result in frostbite and hypothermia. The bulletin added a warning that anyone going outside on Tuesday morning should wear several layers of clothing, a hat and gloves.

Public school systems in Vance, Granville and Warren counties each planned to operate on a two-hour delay.

Area residents appear to be taking the prospect of frigid temperatures in stride. Local auto parts stores are seeing a slight uptick in business but no major rush. Josh Woodby, of Walker Auto Parts on Garnett Street, said he didn’t see much change in the number of customers. However, he added, “I just sold a case of antifreeze.”

Although business had not picked up substantially at Autozone on Dabney Drive, Sidney Evans Jr., parts sales manager, noted a change in the types of purchases.

“More people are coming through for antifreeze, hoses and windshield wipers,” he said.

Some residents were thinking about how they could keep things running in the extreme cold. Tommy Bryant, manager of Hometown Hardware on West Andrews Avenue, said, “We’ve sold some heat lamps for well houses and water heaters.”

He’s also seen an increase in sales of heat tape, spigot covers and kerosene heaters.

Vance County Sheriff Peter White said, “We’re going to be especially vigilant for stranded motorists and anyone walking.”

His department will also be alert to people calling 911.

“It’s going to catch a lot of people by surprise,” he said.

Brian Short, director of emergency management for Vance County, said, “Thankfully, it’s not going to be a prolonged spell of cold weather. There may be some isolated areas of black ice, depending on how much things dry out. We encourage people to stay indoors, but if they have to get out to limit their exposure to the cold.”

Lt. Alan Hedgepeth, of the Henderson Police Department, said, “We’re running our normal operations. We’re not expecting any precipitation. Our officers are well-equipped for what happens.”

Maria Parham Medical Center is limiting visits to two persons at a time for a patient and is restricting access of individuals under 18 years of age and those with symptoms of illness. Those restrictions are due to the current outbreak of flu. The hospital is not taking any additional action because of the cold weather, according to David Ruggles, the public information officer.

Paul McKenzie, horticulture agent for the Vance County Cooperative Extension, said, “Potentially we could have damage to buds on grapevines. We have a handful of small-scale vineyards in the area as well as backyard grapes.”

He said nurseries will want to make sure their greenhouse heating systems are operating.

“If your heating system fails on a 40-degree night, that’s one thing,” McKenzie said. “If it fails on a 5 degree night, with thousands of dollars worth of young plants, it could be a disaster.”

 

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.