CDN’s Top Ten Reasons for Enjoying the Cold Weather

As Clarke County continues to shiver through a deep winter freeze that has gripped the area for several weeks, residents are bracing for another shot of mid-day snow for Thursday. Clarke County’s first dusting of snow on December 10 caught many drivers, and the National Weather Service, by surprise resulting in widespread traffic accidents across our area. Low ground temperatures and frozen road services will ensure that any snow that does fall on Thursday will not quickly melt.

Wait a minute, isn’t Virginia supposed to be part of “The South” where the winter weather is mild?

NOAA 2010 - 2011 Winter Temperature forecast

NOAA 2010 - 2011 Winter Precipitation forecast

Perhaps not.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, our unseasonably cold temperatures are due, in part, to a moderately strong La Niña climate pattern that will be the dominant climate factor influencing weather across most of the U.S. this winter.

La Niña is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, unlike El Niño which is associated with warmer than normal water temperatures. Both of these climate phenomena, which typically occur every 2-5 years, influence weather patterns throughout the world and often lead to extreme weather events. Last winter’s El Niño contributed to record-breaking rain and snowfall leading to severe flooding in some parts of the country, with record heat and drought in other parts of the country. Although La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, it also has the potential to bring weather extremes to parts of the nation.

“La Niña is in place and will strengthen and persist through the winter months, giving us a better understanding of what to expect between December and February,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center – a division of the  National Weather Service. “This is a good time for people to review the outlook and begin preparing for what winter may have in store.”

If Clarke County’s weather over the last two weeks is any indication of what we can expect incoming months as suggested by meteorologist Halpert, then windy, dry and cold conditions may be in store.

Ice thickens on the Shenandoah River in Clarke County, Virginia - Photo Edward Leonard

Over the past month Clarke County has experienced not only brutal temperatures but strong gusty winds as well with wind chill readings in the teens. Farm ponds across the region already have a thin layer of ice on their surfaces. Ice is also beginning to collect on surface of the Shenandoah River.

Temperatures recorded near Mount Weather on Tuesday night were 11 degrees with winds gusting to 37 mph.

But while the “weather outside is frightful” Clarke residents will still delight in the coming holidays and find reasons to make the best of the bitter temps. What are your top ten reasons for enjoying the cold temperatures outside? Here’s ours…

CDN’s Top Ten Reasons for Enjoying the Cold Weather

Reason #1:                     Wood fires a’blazing!

Reason #2:                     Guilt-free indoor activities (it’s too cold to work outside)

Reason #3:                     Holiday baking simultaneously heats the house and warms the soul

Reason #4:                     Children avoid confusion of trying to figure out how to celebrate Christmas when it’s 70 degrees outside

Reason #5:                     No one laughs when you wear that Siberian hat that seemed like such a good buy at the Lands End outlet

Reason #6:                     Outdoor holiday wreathes stay green

Reason #7:                     The 2010 Redskins’s season is almost over!

Reason #8:                     100-mile clear views from Bear’s Den Overlook

Reason #9:                     Crystal clear air makes the holiday lights along Main Street shine brightly and beautifully

Reason #10:                 Hot chocolate doesn’t cause weight gain if the temperature outside is below 25 degrees

Temperatures in Berryville will remain cold for the rest of the week with a chance of snow on Thursday


  1. #1 reason: Muffin tops easier to hide!!

  2. I don’t know about anybody else, but I want my global warming

  3. Mary T. Morris says:

    Santa-I need heavier long johns! I’ve been good (mostly).