The arctic blast of cold, frigid air that’s enveloped the Midwest is prompting people to bundle up in layers when venturing outdoors. The extreme cold, sub-zero temperatures are also wreaking havoc on homes and businesses in the form of heat outages and frozen pipes. When the bitterly cold temperatures set in Monday, plumbers across the region were inundated with phone calls about frozen and burst pipes which are resulting in thousands of dollars in water damages for some home and business owners. According to David Quinn, with the flood cleanup pros a local disaster firm based of Detroit, they have already been contacted by dozens of customers with burst pipes, broken fire suppression lines and they expect it will only get worse as the weather turns warmer.
Some plumbing companies in the Midwest have been working around the clock to take care of their customers’ problems. Fire departments are also being flooded with calls about frozen piles. Some fire departments have been busy responding to home fires caused by people using blow torches to thaw pipes. In many cases, firefighters who were expecting to find smoke found water instead as many frozen pipes burst to cause property flooding.
Plumbers and local fire marshals across the region are warning people to never use a torch to thaw frozen pipes or any type of open flame for that matter. Instead, a hair dryer can be used or an electric blanket can be wrapped around a pipe to solve the problem. Homeowners are being told to keep their garage doors closed during the extreme cold weather and to allow water to trickle from faucets. Thermostats should not be set any lower than 60 degrees during extremely cold weather as doing so can cause pipes inside a home or business to freeze. If a frozen pipe happens to burst while no one is around, it can result in very serious property flooding that can cost thousands of dollars to clean up.
In Indiana, several hundred people were taken to emergency shelters in Indianapolis after power outages were caused by below zero temperatures. In all, Indiana’s major electric utility companies reported over 40,000 power outages across the state with the largest number being in Indianapolis where about 27,000 customer were left without power.
The bitterly cold temperatures and heavy snowfall is disrupting life in several states. Many roadways were drifted closed Monday, scores of schools and businesses closed their doors and millions of people from Minnesota to Maine are finding the below-zero wind chills are complicating their lives with all types of problems from cars that won’t start to furnaces that fail. The wind chills could sink to 45 degrees below zero in many places Monday night and Tuesday which will further challenge millions of Americans who are trying to stay warm and safe.