ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County may not see a white Christmas in 2022, but it will experience a cold one.
The National Weather Service forecast shows overnight lows dipping below 20 degrees Friday-Sunday and highs staying below 40 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
A wind advisory was issued at 4 a.m. Thursday, lasting until 6 p.m. Friday, as sustained winds are expected to be 15-25 mph, with higher gusts.
Forecasters warn that the winds could blow around unsecured objects, including holiday decorations.
There is also a possibility of power outages due to the potential of limbs falling on utility lines.
A wind chill advisory will be in effect from 7 p.m. Friday until 9 a.m. Saturday as an “unusually strong, Arctic cold front will blast” through the region Friday morning, according to NWS.
Forecasters say the area could see wind gusts of 40-50 mph as the front passes, with gusts of 30-40 mph Friday evening.
With the overnight temps dipping to around 11 degrees Saturday morning, the wind chill could make it feel several degrees below 0.
Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing from Friday afternoon until Monday morning.
The NWS advises residents to use extra caution, especially when driving a high-profile vehicle and encourages residents to wear appropriate clothing.
Despite the cold temperatures, Mayor John Hutchinson confirmed Thursday that the second annual Choppy Warburton Black Bottle Run is still on.
The run, with help from the Mangum Track Club, is named in honor of James “Choppy” Warburton, a British champion long-distance runner who ran a 6.5-mile exhibition in Rockingham on Christmas Eve in 1880.
Warburton was a champion runner from Lancashire, England, who won hundreds of races in his home country and made his way to the U.S. in the late 1800s.
Warburton’s brother, George, was a boss in the Pee Dee textile mill, which is how he wound up in Richmond County.
Described as “an almost world-renowned athlete,” by the Rockingham newspaper at the time, Warburton logged 6.5 miles in 45 minutes making laps downtown.
The runner also reportedly challenged to race against the local sheriff’s horse — but the sheriff declined, according to Hutchinson.
Participants will again receive commemorative black bottles. Choppy was reportedly known for his black bottles, which some people speculated contained a performance-enhancing cocktail made of caffeine, cocaine and strychnine.
Last year’s run was also cold — 33 degrees at the start and only 37 when they finished the 6.2-mile route. There was still frost on the ground — and on some of their toboggans — when they returned.
This year it’s likely to feel around zero.
Hutchinson admitted that the weather may affect attendance this year. The inaugural run had more than 40 participants.
The run starts at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Hitchcock Creek Greenway.