Shivering through the day

As bitterly cold as the local weather has been the last couple of days, U.S. Postal Service letter carrier Matthew Waybright prefers it to the high heat of summer.

“You can put layers on and take care of this,” Waybright said Wednesday as he walked along Fourth Street in Marietta delivering mail. “But you can’t get away from that heat.”

Tuesday’s recorded high in Marietta was 19 degrees, with temperatures inching over 20 on Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service forecast, things will be getting somewhat warmer – relatively speaking – today and into the weekend, with highs approaching 30 by Sunday but a low of 10 expected overnight Saturday.

There’s also an inch or two of snow expected today and Friday.

The cold snap is a departure from the milder winter the area had been experiencing, but the recent temperatures haven’t even approached Marietta’s coldest.

The coldest Jan. 23 on record in the city was 16 below zero in 1936, said local weather watcher Charlie Worsham. Wednesday’s low was just 11 above.

Worsham said this week’s weather may have seemed worse since Marietta’s been spared extremely low temperatures the last two years. Jan. 22, 2011, was the last time the city’s temperature was below zero.

“That’s the last time we were actually in single digits,” Worsham said. “And we haven’t been there since, so we kind of got spoiled.”

The cold temperatures and the wind chill that made it feel even colder led a number of area schools to enact two-hour delays this week to allow time for conditions to improve before students went out to wait for buses.

“We look at how long they’re basically out at a bus stop, trying to not have the children suffer,” said Bruce Kidder, superintendent of Frontier Local Schools, which had two-hour delays Tuesday and Wednesday.

Although Marietta City Schools were on their regular schedule Wednesday after a delay the previous day, Washington Elementary Principal Scott Kratche said the school still adapts when the cold and wind chill combine to make it feel like it’s 20 degrees or less outside. Students are brought to the gym and inside one of the entrances.

“They’re usually out on the playground with supervision” when it’s warmer, Kratche said.

As for snow, the weather service is predicting up to an inch of accumulation by this morning and the possibility of another inch or two Friday.

Bucky Lee, owner of Food 4 Less in Marietta, said he hadn’t noticed anybody making runs for supplies in the face of the rather light prediction. But he has seen more people stopping in right after work.

“They limit their trips out of the house,” he said.

That’s the strategy Fearing Township resident Eileen Lantz, 80, is adopting.

“I’ve been trying to stay inside, and when I go out, I hurry,” she laughed.