By Katie Demeria
Cold weather will continue to grip the valley through the weekend and next week.
A wind chill warning expired Friday at noon, but the National Weather Service also issued a wind chill advisory lasting from 10 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday. The advisory warns of possible sub zero wind chills in the morning.
The NWS message encouraged those going outdoors to wear hats and gloves, as such cold temperatures can result in hypothermia and frostbite.
A snow system is expected to move through the area Saturday as well, with accumulations from half an inch to one inch, according to NWS meteorologist Amy Bettwy.
"It's going to start very early in the morning in the mountainous areas," she said. "For the valley, it will likely start midmorning to late morning, and it should taper off in the afternoon."
Bettwy said temperatures should reach 30 to 35 degrees, but even if they go above freezing, snow on the ground will not melt very much.
"It's because the whole atmosphere is below zero," she said. "Very close to the surface, it is a little warmer, but the snow does not have time to melt as it reaches the ground. And the ground right now has snow on it, so that will not melt either."
That snow will probably stick around through the rest of next week, as well. Bettwy said Monday will be a very cold night.
"The air temperatures will be zero to single digits below zero," she said. "That is without the wind chill."
As of Friday, Bettwy said no large systems are expected to hit the area next week. Some snow may be possible Sunday night into Monday, but accumulation should be minimal.
The cold, however, is not expected to end anytime soon.
"We're going to have lows in the single digits throughout at least mid week; later into the week those lows get into the teens and low twenties," Bettwy said.
According to Sandy Myers of the Virginia Department of Transportation, most roads were clear of accumulation Friday, though some secondary roads were still snow covered.
"It's unpaved roads, and there is only so much you can do back there," she said. "In higher elevations the plows do go through, but it takes a lot longer to clear."
The cold weather, she said, impacts how crews treat the roads. When it is not too cold, only salt is used, but when temperatures reach into the lower teens and single digits, calcium chloride is mixed with the salt.
"How we treat tomorrow will depend on what the temperatures are," she said Friday. "We will be ready for any accumulation, but they will probably mix different chemicals with the salt to treat, as it has been so cold."
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org