For a lot of people in Ashe County, they will remember the Christmas of 2022 as one of the coldest they have ever experienced. I am sure at some point in my life, I’ve experienced other cold Christmas Eves and Christmas Days, but this year just seemed like a bitter cold that just took your breath as soon as you stepped outside.
At my house just outside of West Jefferson, the temperature dropped to -7 degrees overnight on Christmas Eve with a wind chill that hit -31 degrees. Thankfully, the water pipes at my home did not freeze and we never lost power throughout the bitter cold days and nights around Christmas. Others, however, were not nearly as fortunate. There were numerous social media posts and stories from friends and acquaintances seeking help with frozen water pipes, broken water pipes and heating system failures.
Blue Ridge Energy was forced to institute rolling blackouts throughout its service area on Christmas Eve at the request of Duke Energy after record low temperatures blanketed the entire state and the Southeast United States.
According to the National Weather Service, Mt. Mitchell reported a low temperature of -22 degrees and a wind chill of -51 degrees on Christmas Eve. Locally, Jefferson set an all-time record low for Christmas Eve when the temperature dropped to -6 degrees. NWS records for Jefferson date back to 1896. Boone dropped to -8 degrees, which also set a new record for coldest Christmas Eve temperature. NWS records for Boone date back to 1980.
It wasn’t just the High Country that had to deal with these bitter cold temperatures. According to the Carolina Panthers social media team, this was the coldest home football game in the history of the franchise. The kickoff temperature at 1 p.m. on Dec. 24 was 23 degrees, which broke the previous record by seven degrees. The team’s home game against the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 3, 2010 had a kickoff temperature of 30 degrees.
Chances are a lot of you will probably remember the time you spent with your family and friends over this Christmas holiday, or some great gifts you received that will be etched in your memory for years to come. You can also remember that you were alive for one of the coldest Christmas Days in history and the coldest Christmas Eve in 126 years of National Weather Service record keeping in Ashe County.