Arctic blast to invade RC area

Published 10:28 am Thursday, January 15, 2009

A word to the wise…bundle up!

A bone-chilling Arctic blast is expected to arrive in northeastern North Carolina sometimes today (Thursday). With it, local citizens will experience some of the coldest weather for January since 2005.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Wakefield, Va., an Arctic air mass will overspread the region Thursday night and remain intact through Saturday.

Roanoke-Chowan area residents can expect a low temperature in the teens tonight (Thursday). The wind chill will make that air temperature feel like the single digits.

Friday’s high isn’t expected to climb above the freezing mark. The current projection is a high on Friday ranging from the upper 20’s to 31 degrees. Friday night is projected to be the coldest in years with the thermometer dipping in the upper single digits.

The biggest concern during this cold snap is a 24-to-36-hour period (Thursday evening into midday on Saturday) where the air temperature will remain below the freezing mark. That may present a problem in regards to freezing water pipes. However, there are ways to prevent bursting pipes.

According to Tommy Bryant, owner of HT Bryant Plumbing and Repair Service, the safest way to prevent water pipes from bursting is to have them insulated. This can be done professionally, but the handyman of the house can use a newly designed “slip sleeve” insulation.

“They are easy to install since they come with a pre-cut slit in the insulation that fits quickly over the water pipe,” Bryant said. “You can also use heat tape, which is simply tape with a tiny electrical line running through it. You apply it to your pipes and plug it in. The heat generated by the electrical lines in the tape will turn on and off with a built-in thermostat.”

If a last-minute insulation job or installing heat tape is out of the question, Bryant said there are other ways to keep water pipes from bursting during a cold snap.

He suggested letting a bathroom or kitchen faucet slowly drip, thus allowing the water to keep moving through the pipes. He said it’s next to impossible for moving water to freeze, not unless the temperature remains well below zero for an extended period of time.

Bryant recommended that all foundation vents should be closed as well as the foundation’s manhole cover. He added that keeping the home’s heating system a notch or two higher during a cold snap will help heat the floor and the walls, thus increasing the temperature underneath a home.

Local citizens who normally keep their pets outdoors should also use good judgment with the cold snap on its way.

Staff at Ahoskie Animal Hospital said if a pet is normally kept outdoors, the most logical advice is to bring the animal inside. If that’s not possible, perhaps the animals can be moved inside a garage or back porch.

Animals left outside will need plenty of warm bedding. A light can be used for a heat source. Pet owners are also reminded that the extended cold period will result in water buckets freezing. Keeping fresh water for those outdoor animals is critical during cold weather.

It’s also wise to check the antifreeze in your vehicles. The extended period of cold weather could lead to a frozen radiator or radiator hoses.

Local citizens are asked to keep a check on elderly neighbors to ensure they are safe and warm.

NWS officials are expecting temperatures to moderate over the weekend into early next week. Saturday is forecasted as sunny with a high in the upper 30’s and an overnight low in the mid 20’s. There is a chance of rain or snow showers on Sunday, where the high is projected in the lower 40’s and a low in the mid 20’s.