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January 3, 2014

Arctic blast this week to bring sub-zero wind chill

CULLMAN — The coldest weather of the season will make for a bitterly frigid start to 2014 as arctic air moves in this week, bringing with it wind chill values below zero.

Cullman area residents woke up to temperatures this morning in the low 20s, however northern winds of 10 to 15 mph made temperatures feel like they were in the single digits, according to the National Weather Service’s Huntsville office. Highs today  are only expected to reach just above freezing before temperatures fall back down to the low 20s.

Saturday should warm up to the mid-40s with a slight chance of rain overnight and a low around the mid-to-upper 30s. On Sunday, rain chances will increase as temperatures reach mid-to-upper 40s during the day. The precipitation could change over to a mix of rain and snow Sunday afternoon with a low in the upper-teens. However, no accumulations are anticipated, forecasters said.

This weekend’s freezing temperatures will only be a prelude to an even stronger cold front that will usher in temperatures 30 degrees below normal, said meteorologist Tim Troutman with NWS’s Huntsville office.

“This will definitely be unusually cold air, a blast straight from Canada, that will make it feel bitterly cold outside,” Troutman said. “People need to take precautions by staying bundled up if they’re outside, taking care of outdoor pets and animals and covering any exposed pipes to prevent them from freezing.”

Although clear skies and the sun will return Monday, the high is only expected to reach the low to mid 20s before temperatures plunge to the single digits at night. Troutman said some areas could see an overnight low down to 5 degrees.

Wind chill values Tuesday morning will make the already sub-freezing temperatures feel like a painful 5 to 10 degrees below zero. The high Tuesday may only reach the low to mid 20s. At night, the temperature is expected to fall again into the upper teens. Wednesday morning may finally begin to warm up to the low 40s, Troutman said.

He also advised residents to put their faucets on a slow drip to avoid freezing pipes and to prepare a safety kit for their vehicles with blankets and warm clothing if they’re planning to travel.

* Tiffeny Owens can be reached by email at towens@cullmantimes.com or by phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.

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