Some in Triangle brave cold temps to keep working
Posted January 7
Raleigh, N.C. — While many Triangle residents spent Tuesday morning figuring out how to avoid the frigid arctic air that dived southward late Monday, those with jobs involving outdoor work did the best they could to deal with it and keep working.
Temperatures dipped to 9 degrees early Tuesday morning at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, setting a new record low for Jan. 7, and at noon, temperatures were still hovering near 20 degrees.
With northwesterly winds gusting between 5 and 15 mph, the wind chill factor – what it feels like outside – could remain in the teens throughout the day.
Chris Williams, an electrician in Raleigh who was heading to Durham Tuesday to dig up some pipes, said days like Tuesday make him think twice about working outdoors.
"On days like today, I'm wishing I was inside," he said.
Despite the frigid working conditions, Williams said his boss does allow him to do whatever he can to stay warm.
"He lets us jump in the truck to warm up," Williams said. "He doesn't nitpick about us sitting in the truck for a few minutes here and there."
Carlton Sutton, a United States Postal Service mail carrier, said his goal on Tuesday was to keep moving. He said generosity from people he delivers to also helps.
"They always ask me, 'Got enough to drink? Got something hot.' Already been offered twice to come inside and get some cocoa," he said Tuesday afternoon. "I just enjoy what I do. This is a rough day, but I always tell people I get enough good days that I can take one or two rough days to keep it moving."
Parking enforcement officers for the City of Raleigh were warned by city officials early Tuesday to dress in layers and be aware of signs of hypothermia or frostbite.
"We're trying to take as many breaks as we can and keep our bodies warm so we can work tomorrow," Ammar Jawwad said. "If we make it through today, we're fine for the rest of the week."
Leydis Sabala, a FedEx delivery worker, said she didn't have the option of staying inside and staying warm Tuesday morning. Packages had to be delivered.
"Nothing prepares you for this cold. Nothing," she said. "But we just have to do it."
Temperatures will warm slightly on Wednesday afternoon, topping out in the upper 30s, but early morning temperatures will still be in the teens.
Local plumbing company sees big increase in calls
Bob Poole, owner of Poole's Plumbing, a Garner-based company that services homes across the entire Triangle, said he and supervisors not normally needed in the field were all out early Tuesday due to a big jump in calls.
"It was a zoo this morning. Got in, and the phones didn't let up for six to seven hours," Poole said. "We received 60 calls first thing this morning."
Poole, who was also out in the field Tuesday afternoon helping his technicians defrost pipes, said he hasn't seen similar weather in 20 years.
Craig and Christina Wilson, who live in Holly Springs, were two of many in the Triangle who woke up Tuesday with frozen pipes.
"I'm from Massachusetts. I've never had this happen before," Christina Wilson said. "Craig started to run water to shower. There was only cold water. Then we knew we had a problem. We're just going with it. Adds excitement to the day-to-day routine."