Region enjoys reprieve from winter temperatures

PARKERSBURG – Although the area experienced warm weather with record temperatures Tuesday, it is not expected to last as the cold weather is expected to return tonight and into the rest of the week.

On Tuesday the high temperature reached 69 degrees around 4 p.m., said Tim Axford, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.

”The previous record was 68 in 1970 so the record has been broken,” he said. ”The average for this time of year is around 40 so we are well above the average.”

Axford said a “vigorous” low pressure system is moving across the midwestern United States and is pulling up warmer temperatures from the southern states. When the warm air meets up with the cold air, rain results.

Rain showers were likely this morning before 3 a.m. Axford said there is a chance of storms and thunderstorms along the Ohio River with possible wind gusts of around 40 mph.

As temperatures have been warm, local agricultural officials do not believe the current warm weather will have any lasting impact on area agriculture.

J.J. Barrett, WVU Extension agriculture agent for Wood County, said the current warm weather is only expected to last a couple of days and he does not foresee any problems occurring within local agricultural operations.

”This one will be short,” he said. ”It won’t cause any major problems.”

Local farmers, especially those who grow fruit, need to watch for an extended warm snap in February and March with temperatures reaching above 60 degrees for a week or so, Barrett said.

Under those conditions, fruit trees can begin to blossom. If that happens and another cold snap freezes them, it can impact local fruit production for a year.

”Those trees won’t produce,” Barrett said.

The area has experienced cold weather all the way into late April and early May. As long as temperatures remain above freezing then many local farmers should be OK.

”Some places are hit harder than others,” Barrett said, adding some lands down by a river may fare better than others higher up during a cold snap.

Temperatures are expected to remain in the mid-60s throughout the day, but it will drop quickly into the evening hours with lows of around 30 expected, Axford said.

”Those people with spring fever need to understand it is still winter as the temperatures will come crashing down,” he said. ”It is going to be a stark contrast as temperatures will drop into the 30s.”

There will be a slight chance of snow showers before 11 a.m. Thursday with a high near 32.

”There will no real accumulation,” Axford said.