Triangle residents struggle to stay warm during March cold snap
Posted March 15
Raleigh, N.C. — Winds that made already-low Triangle temperatures feel even colder Wednesday morning have died down, but the cold weather is staying put.
Raleigh started the day at 26 degrees and temperatures were struggling to climb above freezing at lunchtime. Temperatures topped out in the upper 30s but will dip below freezing again overnight.
WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said that the forecast low of 22 degrees could come close to tying the record low of 20 degrees, set in 1970.
Although temperatures will still be cold, Maze said the absence of wind will make them more tolerable.
'It may not feel so bad because we may not have as harsh of a wind chill," he said.
Temperatures on Thursday will reach the upper 40s, but the Triangle will see one more night of sub-freezing weather before things begin to warm up Friday.
Wild winter puts strain on heating units, pipes
Heating technicians were seeing a surge in calls Wednesday from people who's heating units are freezing.
Josh Dueewer and his family received an unwelcome surprise Tuesday when their heating system stopped working.
"I came home from work yesterday and it was cold," Dueewer said. "Of course it happens on the coldest day we've had in a month."
With four young children, Dueewer said he and his wife were concerned about the sub-freezing overnight temperatures.
"We threw blankets on the kids and made sure to make that phone call first thing this morning," he said.
Jonathan Clark got the call and the Dueewer's home was just one stop in a day full of heating repairs.
David Bedsaul with Air Heat Raleigh said the winter's wild temperature swings could be to blame for heating troubles. One week, homeowners have their air conditioner on and the next week they need to crank up the heat. Bedsaul said all the on and off action could strain the unit more than simply leaving it running most of the winter.
"The main thing the weather can do to your unit is cause the unit to run longer if it's not maintained properly. We see a lot of times if the heat pump's Freon levels are low, your electric bill will be a lot higher," he said.
Frank Alexander, owner of Alexander Heating and Air, estimates business has doubled during the recent cold snap.
"That's one thing people can't live without is their heat," Alexander said. "You start to see some major breakdowns when it does get into the teens, that's when they're really stressed and you start to see a lot more breakdowns."
Technicians said regular maintenance on heating and air conditioning units is critical so the machines are ready for extreme and unexpected temperature swings.
Freezing pipes have been another issue. Plumbing crews said they're also seeing an increase in calls. People can help prevent their pipes from freezing by leaving the water dripping overnight.