Cold weather woes
Super low temps create obstacles for man and beast
|Bitterly cold temperatures on Wednesday, Jan. 14 were to blame for a wellhouse fire and subsequent fire truck malfunction in Imlay Twp. Although firefighters weren’t able to immediately put water on the blaze, damage was limited to the small shed, Fire Chief Kip Reaves said. photo by Maria Brown.|
January 21, 2009TRI-CITY AREA — The last week has been marked by bitterly cold temperatures which don't appear to be leaving anytime soon.
From school closings to fire mishaps, much of the blame for local news can be laid on the weather.
The below average temperatures were ushered in last Tuesday. The following day, Jan. 14, the temperature in Flint fell to a record setting 19 degrees Fahrenheit.
That morning the Imlay City Fire Department responded to a call in the 8000 block of Imlay City Rd.
The homeowner was attempting to thaw the frozen pipes in his well pump house when the small shed caught on fire.
Fire Chief Kip Reaves said upon arriving on scene, firefighters discovered their pumper truck was malfunctioning, in part, from the cold.
Reaves said the thermometer registered four degrees below zero at the time of the call.
Unfortunately, they had to watch as flames consumed the shed, Reaves said. Goodland and Mussey Twp. fire departments assisted on scene.
The shed was less than 20 feet from the home but was contained. There was some minor heat damage done to the home. Total damages were estimated at $5,000.
On Friday, all area schools were cancelled due to the dangerously cold temperatures.
Imlay City Schools' Transportation Director Deby Smith said once the wind chill starts to hover between -20 and -25 degrees Fahrenheit, their district, and many other neighboring schools, consider it too dangerous for their students to be out. After a few phone calls on Friday morning between schools, the school closing notices went out.
Local officials also sought to remind residents that their pets and livestock need extra attention during the cold snap too.
A press release from the Michigan Department of Agriculture cautioned owners that animals of all sizes need food, water and shelter.
Companion animals, such as dogs and cats that are kept indoors, have great difficulty adjusting to outdoor winter temperatures. Also, owners must be sure to protect their pets from de-icing chemicals and antifreeze.
As for livestock, the state's Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices calls for owners to ensure access to water that is not frozen, increase feed to provide extra energy, provide shelter for animals to escape wind and heavy snow and use caution around icy areas to prevent falls and injuries.
According to the National Weather Service, an intrusion of arctic air is not uncommon for southeast Michigan in January but "having one affect the region for five days with temperatures falling significantly below zero each day are much more rare."
In the coming days, there's a chance Lapeer County may reach a balmy 32 degrees on Thursday but otherwise, the forecast calls for high temperatures in the teens and 20s through Sunday.