The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 24, 2014

Cold spell continues with wind chill advisory

BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL bhuchel@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Round 2 of this winter’s frigid temperatures has plenty of people — but not many pipes — freezing this month.

Aqua Illinois workers were at the corner of East Williams and Griffin streets on Thursday handling a water main break brought on by the cold weather. But the incident was the exception rather than the rule as the company has reported no out-of-the-ordinary spikes in pipe breaks during the month’s two cold streaks.

Area manager Bob Ervin said workers have kept up with the breaks for both residential pipes and the company’s overall distribution system brought on by the intense cold snap.

“So far, it’s not been out of the ordinary,” he said. “That’s somewhat surprising; you would think this weather would really be testing it.”

But, Ervin added, there is a lot of winter left for the region.

A wind chill advisory was in effect throughout the day Thursday as temperatures dropped to minus-2 degrees for a low and around 5 degrees for a high. The wind chill, as a result, was as low as minus-24 degrees and remained at minus-15 degrees as of mid-afternoon.

During these dangerously cold conditions, people should limit time outdoors if possible. Frostbite or hypothermia is possible with lengthy exposure to the cold.

A spokeswoman with the Presence United Samaritans Medical Center said the hospital’s emergency room had one frostbite case on Thursday.

In addition, the hospital saw an increase in slips and falls related to snow and ice.

The National Weather Service recommends people outside should dress warmly in multiple layers. If traveling, pack a winter survival kit that includes blankets and/or a sleeping bag in your vehicle.

Ervin was working during the first cold snap of the month and could hear water pouring out in the background as a frantic customer called in.

Those situations make up the majority of cold-weather calls Aqua Illinois receives and he said there are a number of precautions to keep that from happening.

“We try to remind customers to protect their water lines: insulating lines and unhooking hoses to the outside,” he said. He added people should make sure there is adequate heat under the house to keep pipes from freezing.

“Those exterior walls can always get cold this time of year,” he said.

The most important information stressed to homeowners, Ervin added, is where the home’s internal shut-off valve is located in case of an burst pipe problem.

“It’s very important for the customer before they have a problem to investigate and find out where it’s at,” he said.

Thursday’s and today’s conditions aren’t the end of the winter’s latest frigid blast as forecasts for the beginning of next week predict more freezing conditions. After a brief warm up Saturday and Sunday, the National Weather Service predicts low temperatures both Monday and Tuesday are expected to be between minus-5 and minus-15 degrees.

High temperatures for both days will hover in the single digits.

Wednesday’s low temperatures will range from 5 degrees to minus-5 degrees, according to forecasts.

In addition to current freezing cold temperatures, up to 1-3 inches of snow is forecast for tonight along and north of a line from Canton to Mattoon.

The National Weather Service was predicting just more than 2 inches of snow in Danville by Saturday morning.