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Wind chill advisory remains in effect

January 15, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The National Weather Service on Thursday warned that Tri-State area residents should take steps to protect themselves if they venture outside in the frigid temperatures that are expected over the next few days.

Jackie Hale, a National Weather Service spokeswoman, said northwest winds of up to 30 mph were expected to continue into today.

"That could bring our wind chills down to 5 below at times," Hale said.

A wind chill advisory was in effect for the area overnight and was not expected to be lifted until 6 p.m. today.

On Thursday, snow and subfreezing temperatures prompted Washington County Public Schools and several other Tri-State area school systems to close, while some other school systems operated on two-hour delays.

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Less than an inch of precipitation fell in the Hagerstown area.

The weather service on Thursday was calling for today's high to reach 16 and the low to drop to 2 tonight. Saturday is expected to be a little warmer, with a high in the 20s and a low of 16.

By Sunday, the temperature is expected to reach the lower 30s, the weather service said.

Hale said people who go outside should dress in layers and make sure to wear a hat, scarf, gloves and warm socks to prevent hypothermia and frostbite.

Pets also should be protected from the frigid temperatures, she said.

"It is advisable to bring pets indoors or put them in shelter like a barn," Hale said.

Temperatures for this time of year average about 29 degrees, according to http://i4weather.net, a Web site operated by local weather observer Greg Keefer.

The record low for Jan. 16 is minus 4 degrees, set in 1910, according to the Web site. The record low for Jan. 17 - minus 10 - was recorded in 1982.

The high Thursday in Hagerstown was 22.9 degrees, according to Keefer's Web site.

The Hagerstown Engineering and Code Administration departments are asking building owners - especially those with vacant buildings - to prepare for the sub-zero temperatures this weekend.

"Water systems in vacant buildings without adequate heat must be drained to prevent damage to pipes due to freezing," Chief Code Official Michael Heyser said. "When left unattended, water flowing from damaged pipes can result in extensive damage and expense."

Heyser said the city is more concerned this year because of the higher number of houses that have been foreclosed upon and are empty.

Residents who want to report a building at risk may call 301-739-8577, extension 119.

o For updated weather forecasts, road conditions and school closures or delays, go to The Herald-Mail Accuweather

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