By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: Jan. 10, 2017 | 1:40 p.m.
SUSSEX – To quote a popular holiday song, “Baby, it’s cold outside!” Last week’s historic winter storm, which has been described as a “bomb cyclone,” broke records all across the East Coast, and eastern Virginia was no exception. Beginning with ice and snow further south on Wednesday, the unusual winter storm intensified explosively to quickly become one of the strongest East Coast winter storms in modern history – and left behind frigid temperatures. As days passed, temperatures dropped lower and lower, resulting in a recorded temperature Sunday morning at Richmond International Airport of -3.
In the Sussex/Surry area temperatures were even lower, with a recorded -10 in Waverly, and Wakefield crushing its old record by dropping to – 14, both actual air temperatures – not wind chill factors. To find temperatures appreciably lower required a search back to some of the coldest weather ever recorded on the East Coast, on a day when Petersburg, VA only reached to -20F. That was in 1857 – 160 years ago.
WWBT-TV, Richmond’s NBC affiliate, blamed Sunday mornings record lows in part on “clear skies, calm winds and snow on the ground.” According to NOAA, Richmond averages only 13 days with nighttime lows at 20 °F or less each year, and daytime highs usually top 32 °F. As the number of consecutive days with no recorded temperature above freezing continue to mount, predictions are that a record for that is likely to be set as well.