Archive for Friday, December 24, 2004

Plumbers, homeless shelters see burst of business during cold snap

December 24, 2004


So this is what winter feels like.

After enjoying the benefits of a relatively warm fall, Lawrence residents were feeling the effects of a chill that swept into town on Tuesday, the winter solstice, and has hung around since.

Temperatures lingered in the teens Wednesday and reached a low of 6 degrees on Thursday, though the wind chill often made it feel as though the mercury had dipped below zero.

While Thursday's high temperature of 21 degrees was significantly below the Dec. 23 average high of 40, it could have been worse. The record low for Dec. 23, set in 1989, is 20 degrees below zero.

Relief from the current cold snap is in sight. Though the freeze is expected to persist throughout the day, things should warm up a bit on Christmas, and Sunday's forecast has temperatures climbing back into the 50s.

Still, the freezing temperatures Thursday brought their usual array of problems to the area. Local plumbers began getting calls about frozen and burst pipes, with the promise that more could be on their way.

"When it gets cold like this, and it stays cold, a lot of people don't even know they have frozen lines," said Curt Kastl, vice president of Kastl Plumbing. "It might not show up for a couple days until the lines thaw out and water starts spraying. We're going to have a colder spell for the next day or so, but by Sunday, they'll know."

Kevin Hoppe of Action Plumbing said the best way to avoid frozen pipes was to keep the heat on throughout the day, and to seal drafty windows near water lines.

Area homeless shelters also saw a population increase.

Paula Gilchrist of the Salvation Army said the shelter had roughly 30 people come in each night earlier this week, but since the weather had turned extreme, the shelter has housed between 45 and 55 people per night.

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