Wind chill poses dangers

Published 1:32 pm Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Don’t expect temperatures in Washington and surrounding areas to get above the freezing mark Thursday.

In fact, the high for Thursday may not even break the 30-degree mark. Since Wednesday, most of eastern North Carolina has been under a winter-chill advisory. The National Weather Service office in Newport is calling for today’s high in and near Washington to be 27 degrees. A north wind at 8 mph to 13 mph this morning will make it feel even colder. Thursday, wind gusts along the Outer Banks in Hyde and Dare counties could reach 45 mph. Thursday night’s low in the Washington area is expected to be 18 degrees, if not lower.

A strong Arctic high-pressure system will build in the area throughout Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. The combination of below-freezing temperatures and gusty winds will lead to wind-chill values around zero degrees early Thursday. Those conditions could lead to frostbite and hypothermia if precautions are not taken, according to the National Weather Service, which advises anyone venturing outside to wear gloves and a head covering such as a hat or toboggan.

The Zion Shelter & Kitchen, housed in the basement of Metropolitan AME Zion Church in Washington, opened its door early Wednesday night.

“What happens when it’s cold like this, we will open up two hours earlier. Our normal hours are 10 (p.m.) to 7 (a.m.). We will open up at 8 o’clock (Wednesday night). Most of these guys are hanging out at the library until 7 o’clock,” said Jonathan Gaskins, who answered the telephone at the shelter Wednesday afternoon. “Now realize, we only have 12 beds. That’s it. We normally stay full, but, yeah, we will open up earlier.”

On Wednesday, area schools began taking measures to address the freezing temperatures.

“We are putting a call out to families tonight (Wednesday) to remind them about taking precautions,” said Sarah Hodges, public information officer for Beaufort County Schools, on Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re also letting them know the cold weather could affect some of the buses, so please bear with us. We’ve also told bus drivers to take your time at the stops, make sure you give children plenty of time to get to you so they can stay inside as long as possible,” Hodges said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Beaufort County schools were expected to open at normal times Thursday.

City of Washington offices are expected to open at normal times Thursday, according to Matt Rauschenbach, the city’s administrative services director and assistant city manager. Beaufort County offices are expected to open at normal times Thursday.

Area residents were being reminded Wednesday to make sure exposed water pipes are wrapped or insulated in some manner to help prevent them from busting.

High temperatures are expected to reach the upper 30s and lower 40s on Friday.





About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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