Brooke Hancock of Boone is dressed in warm layers for her brisk walk to work at Anna Banana’s on Tuesday morning, when temperatures had not yet climbed above zero degrees. Photo by Anna Oakes
Thursday, January 09, 2014
(Last modified: 2014-01-09 11:26:44)

Source: The Blowing Rocket

Folks in Blowing Rock and the High Country learned a new phrase this week: polar vortex.

Indeed, the polar vortex that created record-breaking cold weather was the subject of conversation, consternation and cancellations.

Early on Tuesday morning, temperatures in Blowing Rock reached a low of minus 9.3 degrees.

Coupled with high winds and gusts up to 50 mph, the polar vortex brought weather that was not only cold, but also potentially life-threatening.

According to the National Weather Service, with the combination of Monday night’s winds and cold temperatures, a person standing outside could get frostbite in just several minutes without proper clothing.
The cold weather continued Tuesday afternoon with a projected high temperature of 10 degrees above zero.

Records indicate that the polar vortex and cold snap brought the coldest temperatures experienced in the High Country since 1994.

According the Blue Ridge Electrical Membership Corporation director of public relations Renee Whitener, approximately 500 households in Ashe, Caldwell, Alleghany and Watauga counties were affected by cold temperatures and high winds, beginning at 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Whitener said that by 3 p.m., power had been restored to all but 49 homes in Ashe, two in Caldwell and one in Watauga.
Monday’s frozen precipitation, coupled with Tuesday’s extremely low temperatures and wind chill dangers, led to the closing of all public schools in Watauga County Monday through Wednesday.

The daily temperatures are expected to slowly warm up this week, with a projected high temperature in Blowing Rock on Saturday to approach 50 degrees.

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