Sunday, February 1, 2004

Pipes burst as temps plunge to record low



By William Weathers
Cincinnati Enquirer

Record-shattering subzero temperatures early Saturday caused a number of water mains to break in Cincinnati and pipes to freeze in homes throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.

"We had five main breaks around 7 a.m.,'' said Dave Rager, director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works.

"Crews have been on 12-hours shifts since Thursday."

Rager estimated there had been about 50 water-main breaks in Cincinnati during the cold snap in the past week.

The mercury dropped to 12 below zero early Saturday, breaking the previous low-temperature record of minus 9 degrees set in 1965.

Why do water-main breaks occur in the teeth-chattering cold?

"When the ground starts to freeze, it moves,'' Rager said. "And if there's a weak point in the (pipe's) metal, it will find it.''

City Water Works received a number of calls Saturday morning from residents complaining of frozen pipes, Rager said.

"They have to call a plumber," he said.

But Rager said there are things residents can do to protect against frozen pipes.

Since pipes in many kitchens are susceptible to freezing because they are in an outside wall, he said to open the doors under the sink so the warm air can get to them.

It also helps to keep a trickle of water running from the tap - "about the size of pencil lead."

Never use an open flame to try to thaw pipes, Rager said.

A hair dryer is a safer option.

Overnight lows were expected to be zero to 5 degrees above.

The high today is forecast in the low 30s, tonight's low is expected to be in the lower 20s.




TOP STORIES
Cincinnati Tomorrow stretches legs, influence
Ambitious scholars, insufficient dollars
Common mistakes in the college aid game
Early worrying saved financial scurry
Sacrifices produce rewards
Package of aid puts student through school

IN THE TRISTATE
Read-In spotlights black authors
Pipes burst as temps plunge to record low
Cholesterol drugs studied
Kings schools study levy, layoffs
Miami U. confronts rumors, myths
Serving others, nun reaches 100
City connects with citizens
Trustee wants remarks first
Tour, talks give students positive view of Cincinnati
Neighborhood briefs

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Bronson: March Madness weeks away, but I'm already mad
Radel: USS Indianapolis will always haunt their memories, dreams
Indiana woman to celebrate 106

LIVES REMEMBERED
Gerald Mullins had ad agency
George Nassauer was P&G executive

KENTUCKY STORIES
Measure would permit 10-day student leaves
Legislators spar over arena
500 could be part of suit against Ky. diocese