Weather

Temperatures to remain frigid

Posted January 5, 2010 5:32 a.m. EST
Updated October 18, 2011 9:37 a.m. EDT

— Temperatures will remain cold throughout the week, with a minor chance that the Triangle could see snow on Thursday evening.

The cool temperatures had people like Raleigh construction worker D.J. Humphry dressing in layers.

"I've got about four thermals on," Humphry said Tuesday.

Matt Gural delivers food from Jimmy John's on his bicycle. He said his job is even colder because he is moving at fast speeds.

Wednesday's temperatures will reach into the 30s, and a slight warm-up Thursday could send the mercury all the way to the low 40s before crashing into the mid 20s again that night.

The warm, moist air might hang around long enough to meet up with a new blast of cold air. If that happens, there is a potential for a dusting of snow Thursday evening.

"A period of light snow flurries, maybe enough to coat the ground, is about the best we can hope for," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

The snowfall would be a brief event without much precipitation.

Friday morning would be partly cloudy and cold.

Another blast of cold air is expected to push through just in time for the weekend.

Fishel said temperatures should start moving back toward the normal high for this year – about 50 degrees – by the middle of next week.

"Better things are coming. It's just going to take a little while to get there," Fishel said.

Freezing temperatures cause car trouble

AAA Carolinas said it has seen an increase in jump-start calls due to the cold weather. The group said it expects demand to continue for the rest of the week with predictions of sub-freezing temperatures.

"We received 45 percent more calls yesterday related to battery trouble compared with the past four Mondays," said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas.

Freezing pipes close schools, state parks

Two Person County schools dismissed early Tuesday because frozen pipes left them without water, officials said.

North End Elementary School and Oak Lane Elementary School dismissed at 11 a.m.

Meanwhile, crews worked to fix a water main break on South Person Street near the intersection of East Bragg Street in downtown Raleigh early Tuesday morning.

The frigid temperatures also led to the indefinite closure of Grandfather Mountain State Park. Officials at the state Division of Parks and Recreation said Tuesday that heavy snow and ice accumulation and downed trees made it extremely difficult and dangerous to enter the park.

Officials said Mount Mitchell State Park and several other high-elevation state park areas in the western part of the state were also closed due to icy roads.

Tips to protect pipes

Everyone is urged to prepare for the unusually cold weather such as checking heating units and protecting exposed water pipes.

Plumber Mike Waite, with Cary Plumbing, said the cold spell is keeping him busy repairing busted water pipes. Among the causes are unprotected irrigation backflow valves.

“(Irrigation) pipes burst all the time when they're not protected. A lot of people forget to take them out in the winter months when they're not using the irrigation systems. And if you leave a pipe exposed to freezing weather, it's going to burst,” Waite explained.

Waite said nearly every problem plumbers respond to during the winter months can be prevented.

“Leaving outside faucets attached to their hose bib, we replace more of those than anything else,” he said.

Measures such as removing hoses from the spigot, closing crawl space vents, eliminating drafts of cold air and insulating exposed pipes can help prevent costly repairs.

“For a three-quarter inch (pipe), you've got to have 1 inch all the way around of foam insulation. Anything less than that will allow it to freeze,” Waite said.

Additional ways to protect water pipes from the cold weather are to keep inside faucets running at a slow drip and to leave cabinets near sinks open so warmer air can circulate.