Pike County to see below freezing temps, watch issued

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It’s cold … and likely to get colder this week, according to weather forecasts.

A hard freeze watch has been issued for Pike County beginning early Wednesday and continuing until later Thursday morning.

From midnight Wednesday, Feb. 18, until 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 19 the National Weather Service in Birmingham has issued a hard freeze warning, which means conditions are favorable for forecast temperatures to drop to 15 degrees or lower over the next 48 hours.

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Temperatures will range from the upper single digits to the lower teens along the north corridor of Interstate 20 and the teens to approximately 20 degrees south of Interstate 20.

Prolonged exposure to below freezing conditions and temperatures can lead to hypothermia and frostbite.

The combination of cold temperatures and wind can also lead to hypothermia and frostbite, and EMA Director Jeanna Barnes suggests wearing layered clothing and covering all exposed skin in some way.

“When the temperatures are dropping outside and you start to miss those 90-degree summer days, avoid prolonged exposure to the outdoors,” Barnes said. “We can’t all stay inside through the entire event, so should you wander out in those frigid temps be sure to dress warmly and dress in layers of loose-fitting clothing with sleeves snug at the wrist.”

In the event temperatures do get below freezing, Barnes said it would be wise to take precautionary measures to prevent pipes from becoming damaged.

“To prevent pipes bursting or freezing, be sure to wrap any pipes exposed to the elements,” Barnes said. “Pipes should also be drained or allowed to drip slowly to prevent bursting.”

Barnes said people with in-ground sprinkler systems should be sure to prepare those for the weather as well.

“In-ground sprinkler systems should be drained,” Barnes said. “If you have any above-ground pipes to protect, those should be covered to prevent any damage.”

Grant Lyons, a Pike County Extension agent, said that if pipes were frozen there were ways to thaw them.

“If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe,” Lyons said. “Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation. Be sure to keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.”

Lyons also suggested applying heat to the section of pipe that is frozen in order to thaw it.

Barnes also said to remember household and outdoor pets during the extreme cold coming.

“Don’t forget your pets,” Barnes said. “If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them.”