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Extreme cold causing pipe bursts, water issues throughout US

Charles McCaskill
Posted at 2:49 PM, Dec 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-27 16:49:57-05

The Christmas weekend was among the coldest holidays on record for many in the US, which caused water issues from individual households to large cities.

The extreme cold caused issues with Jackson, Mississippi’s beleaguered water supply system. Officials there said the cold caused a loss in the city’s water pressure. The low water pressure prompted officials to order a boil advisory during the holiday.

The cold also caused pipes to burst at one of South Carolina’s largest food banks. The Harvest Food Bank in Greenville reported its pipes burst, causing significant damage to its facility.

The food bank said it “suffered extensive damage” to its offices and warehouse.

Similar scenes played out across the U.S. as wind chills dropped well below zero, even into parts of the Southern U.S.

For those experiencing freezing temperatures, the Red Cross offers recommendations to prevent pipe bursts.

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.