The Times West Virginian

Local News

January 7, 2014

Cold weather cancels activities

County schools closed again today

FAIRMONT — With the extreme cold, school has been closed and various activities have been canceled throughout the area.

School in Marion County was canceled Monday and again today because of the inclement weather. In fact, none of the public schools in West Virginia’s 55 counties were in session Monday, the Associated Press reported.

As of Monday night, nearly all of the state’s counties had announced school cancellations for today, according to the West Virginia Department of Education’s website.

Marion County Superintendent of Schools Gary Price said school was called off locally because of the cold temperatures and also because the county received a little more snow than anticipated. The roads got slick very fast around the time the buses were getting ready to run Monday, and it was difficult to predict if the road conditions were going to improve.

The county’s sports teams were allowed to practice during the day Monday, but the players who volunteered to come were expected to be home before dark, he said. The evening activities as far as games were canceled. The same policies will apply to sports today.

A school delay could potentially be called on Wednesday, but no final decision has been made at this time.

“We try not to make those decisions too far ahead of time, but certainly with the prediction of the continued cold through Wednesday morning, that certainly is a distinct possibility,” Price said.

The county typically greatly reduces the temperature in its school buildings when the students are out, but is currently running its facilities at regular temperature to try to offset the cold so the kids will be comfortable when they return. He explained that the buildings are really difficult to heat back up once they get cold.

Also, mechanics will check out the buses to make sure they’re ready to go when school is back in session, Price said.

Fairmont State University’s basketball games on Monday were postponed.

While faculty are on FSU’s campus this week for faculty development and offices are open, the students haven’t returned yet because spring semester classes don’t begin until Jan. 13, said Amy Pellegrin, director of marketing and branding.

Several meetings originally scheduled in the county for Monday were postponed because of the frigid temperatures.

The Marion County Board of Education’s regular session has been moved to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Central Office.

Mannington’s council meeting will take place next Monday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall.

Mayor Jim Taylor said council didn’t want anyone to risk driving on the slick roads to get to the meeting. Mannington tries to get as much participation from the community as possible, and council felt it would have been unfair to continue with the meeting as planned.

“We’re there to serve the citizens,” Taylor said.

Rivesville’s town council meeting today has been canceled. Also, the town will not have garbage pickup today, Mayor Jim Hershman said via email.

Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist, said the nasty, cold weather Monday night and today will make it very unpleasant for people in the area to be outdoors. In fact, staying outside for any extended period of time will be dangerous unless individuals are really bundled up.

At times Monday night and into today the temperature was anticipated to feel like 20 below zero in the valleys and 30 below zero in the mountains because of wind chill, he said.

In terms of historic temperatures in Morgantown, which is AccuWeather’s main observation site nearby, the record low for Jan. 7 was set in 1970 at minus 4 degrees. Monday night was expected to break that record at minus 7, Sosnowski said.

He said locations in the Midwest, East and South will also rival records set 100 years ago for today’s date.

The AP reported that there was a possibility West Virginia would experience its lowest temperatures in 18 years — since February 1996 — on Monday night.

In the area, the high temperature today will be around 6 degrees. While the temperature will remain cold, the winds should be easing back. That number won’t drop much tonight — probably just 2 or 3 degrees from the daytime high, Sosnowski said.

The good news is that the cold will back down substantially later this week, he said. People will see temperatures rebounding and getting near freezing on Wednesday. The high should be in the 40s on Thursday and around 50 on Friday and Saturday.

“There’s been a lot of talk of a polar vortex paying a visit to the United States,” Sosnowski said. “It’s simply a big puddle of cold air in the lower part of the atmosphere.”

While that cold air typically tends to hang around the Arctic Circle, every now and then it can dip down into the northern United States, like what is happening this week with the frigid temperatures. But later this week, milder Pacific air will arrive, he said.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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