There wasn’t but a trace of frozen precipitation Monday, but it was evident the air temperature was much colder than normal as the day progressed. A low of 3.6 degrees was hit this morning at 6:36.
A low of 20.5 degrees recorded at Wacker in Charleston slid to 15.4 by noon Monday, with a “feels like” wind chill value of 1.4 degrees.
Wind Chill alarms alerted staff at the Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency that a pre-set had been reached. Extremely cold air along with winds of 15 mph and greater invaded Bradley County and Cleveland as well as at least half of the nation, including the South.
Roadways were clear for the most part in Bradley County, but there were a few icy spots where rain and snowfall just couldn’t dry.
The National Weather Service warned Monday that “cold high pressure over the Plains will move southeastward to the Eastern Gulf Coast/Southeast by this evening. Very cold temperatures will be associated with this region of high pressure.
“The historical cold weather can be life threatening. Bradley County Emergency Medical Service wants all of our residents in Cleveland and Bradley County to be safe during this potential deadly cold snap,” said Stan Clark, information officer for BCEMS.
“This type of weather brings all kinds of danger. The No. 1 objective is to keep warm. Many people try to keep warm by using alternate heat sources. Please do not use open flame or sources that can produce carbon monoxide in your home. If you lose electricity and have to use a generator, make sure the generator is outside. Many deaths occur when generators are used indoors or near the residence and fumes get in,” Clark explained.
Fire chiefs for the city and county agreed with Clark that carbon monoxide alarms are very important this time of year.
Friday, CBCEMA Director Troy Spence said, “People will be creative when it comes to staying warm.”
But frigid temperatures are just one element involved in cause and affect.
Ponds will ice, especially on the edges.
Spence said residents should not attempt to walk on icy ponds.
NWS forecasters predict temperatures will stay below freezing until Wednesday. They said the subfreezing readings will have lasted about 60 hours when they finally break through the 32-degree mark.
The sustained dip below freezing can cause pipes to freeze and burst.
Jason Owens of Rick Owens Plumbing said his company had answered over a dozen calls regarding frozen pipes.
“Right now, clients’ pipes are still frozen. Wednesday and Thursday will be interesting when the temperatures begin to rise and the thaw begins,” Owens said.
Cleveland Utilities as well as Ocoee Utilities crews responded to burst water mains.
CU officials reported a break at the corner of Guthrie Drive and Andrew Lane, just up the street from their offices.
Bradley County 911 reports noted the roadway was closed to traffic due to the break.
911 officials also confirmed a break in a water main at Benton Pike and Old Parksville Road, where Bradley County Sheriff’s Office officials also closed the roadway to traffic.
“A small snow event seems to cause more problems in that people do not take it as serious. A small amount of ice or snow on the steps and sidewalks usually causes a lot of slips and falls. If there is any doubt that you cannot go outside safely, stay inside,” Clark said.
Below freezing temps can produce multiple health issues. Heart attacks and frostbite, which can occur in a matter of minutes due to low wind chills, are common during this type of weather situation.
“The roads can also be very treacherous. Stay at home if possible. Keep warm clothing in your vehicle in case you experience problems and may be outside for a period of time. Keep a cellphone with you at all times while traveling in case you have to call for help.
Do not hesitate to call for assistance if you or a family member needs help during this dangerously cold weather. We would much rather be proactive and keep people warm,” Clark said.
Cold weather can be a killer, according to Clark.
Cleveland Fire Chief Steve Haun and Bradley County Fire Chief Troy Maney both stressed the importance of following safety guidelines for space heating.
“Remember the ‘3-Foot Rule,’ which is keep combustibles at least three feet away from any heat source,” Haun said.
Maney also said to make sure smoke alarms were in place and active as well as carbon monoxide detectors in working order.
Spence said everyone should have an emergency plan in place. A number of tips can be found by following CBCEMA on its Facebook site or by going to www.bradleyco.net and clicking on the EMA link.