The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 3, 2014

Temperatures could dip into single digits next week

Bracing for big chill

By Lora Scripps
lora@athensnews-courier.com

— While many were busy with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, winter made its way into Limestone County. Now — nearly two weeks into the season — residents are bundling up for what could be a dangerous cold week ahead.

Although temperatures dipped into the upper teens this morning behind an arctic cold front and the wind-chill factor fell into the single digits across much of the area, the National Weather Service in Huntsville said the cold weather isn’t over. Another strong cold front is in the forecast and is expected to arrive in the Tennessee Valley late this weekend.

“It’s going to be quite chilly,” Meteorologist Andy Kula said. “It’s quite a change from what we have seen.”

Kula said it is tough to make a call on snow, but the NWS is looking closely at the possibility of light snow late this weekend, though no accumulation is expected. However, forecasters said rain could change over to a brief period of light snow Sunday night before ending Monday morning.

Temperatures will be in the 20s Monday, Kula said. Bitter-cold air is expected behind the front, with low temperatures Tuesday expected to drop into the lower teens and single digits. Wind-chill values Tuesday morning are expected to drop into the below-zero range.

“There is also a possibility for wind-chill warnings,” he said.

A wind-chill advisory means wind-chill readings are between minus-10 and 0 degrees. A wind-chill warning is issued when wind-chill readings are at or below minus-10 degrees.

“It’s some of the coldest air we have seen in a number of years,” Kula said. The area hasn’t seen single digits below 5 degrees since 1996 and weather in the upper single digits since 2009 and 2011, according to reports from the NWS.

“Be prepared for this cold wave. Don’t be exposed for too long,” Kula said, adding it is best to wear plenty of layers and keep a winter survival kit in the car.

The NWS recommends preparing a travel safety kit containing batteries, blankets, a first-aid kit, pocket knife, tow rope, shovel, sand or cat litter, ice scraper, water, nonperishable food, road maps/GPS equipment, a mobile phone charger and an AM/FM battery-operated radio.

Limestone County EMA Director Rita White said the main thing she stresses is to check on neighbors, especially if the neighbors are elderly or don’t have a heat source.

She recommends not spending a lot of time outdoors and dressing in layers, which includes a hat and gloves. “Also, don’t let children play outside for long periods of time,” she said.

Residents are also encouraged check on pets and keep them indoors if possible.