Local NewsCounty roads dominate commission discussion

By Jonathan Pleasant

With the courthouse heating system malfunctioning and outside temperatures in the single digits, local officials had a chilly night conducting business at last Thursday’s county commission meeting. Not surprisingly business was carried out briskly. Moving through the approval of last month’s minutes, this month’s notaries, committee reports and budget amendments, the commission swiftly dealt with the typical items on the agenda before moving into issues that required more deliberation.

Most of the lengthy discussion concerned the abandonment of a short section of county road at the request of Maymead and a request to rename Prison Camp Road put forth by resident Mel Melisarus. Both items were held over from previous months and had already been reviewed at length. As the sole private property owner accessing McCarty Road, Maymead’s Wiley Roark made the initial request for the county to abandon the short segment to allow the company to build a new access road which would be gated.  More...

Different name but same results ... cold temps put area in deep freeze

By Paula Walter

The frigid weather of the last week have evoked memories of last winter’s severe cold, dubbed the Polar Vortex, a meteorology term that refers to a pocket of extremely cold air that usually circles the North Pole. This year, the new buzz word for the artic blast much of the eastern portion of the United States has been experiencing from Maine to Alabama is referred to as the Siberian Express. The difference between the two is the winds associated with this system come from Russia, travel around the Artic Circle, make its way into Canada and then into the United States. Regardless of the name, the results are the same: It is bone-chilling cold outside.

One feature that has promoted the cold has been the upper level flow and jet stream, explained WJHL meteorologist, Brian Walder. “In short, the general pattern for this winter, especially of late, has been an upper ridge in the western United States and a trough in the east,” Walder said. “What this setup allows for northwest flow aloft in-between the ridge axis and trough axis. When we have this northwest flow, the source region of the air blown our way is Canada, and this allows for cold air to settle in the eastern United States. This air is often moved from Canada into the United States via arctic areas of high pressure. When it comes to winter forecasting, finding the high just as important as the actual storm because the placement and strength of the high will determine where and how strong the cold air is. Another general rule is that cold air is found on the poleward side of the jet stream, and warmer air is found on the equatorial side. So between the ridge/trough setup allowing for a dip in the jet stream over the eastern United States and northwest flow aloft and the movement of arctic areas of high pressure from Canada into the United States, cold air has been able to move into not just east TN, but much of the eastern US.” More...

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