Jul 30, 2014
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Winter Continues: Patchy Freezing Drizzle Possible Overnight

A Freeze Watch will be in effect across the metro Atlanta area from Monday at 11 p.m. until Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Winter Continues: Patchy Freezing Drizzle Possible Overnight
The weekend saw the arrival of warmer March temperatures, but winter certainly hasn’t departed these parts as freezing temps are expected again overnight in and around metro Atlanta.

A Freeze Watch will be in effect from Monday at 11 p.m. until Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Monday’s rain will dissipate into drizzle by late afternoon, but there is a chance it could turn into freezing drizzle after 2 a.m. The overnight low will be around 29 degrees with wind gusting up to 20 miles per hour after midnight.

The good news is that Tuesday will be partly sunny with a high near 50. From the National Weather Service in  Peachtree City:

IN THE WAKE OF THE COLD FRONT MOVING THROUGH TODAY...SOME LOW- LEVEL MOISTURE WILL LINGER ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA IN THE FORM OF LOW CLOUDS AND PATCHY DRIZZLE. AS COLD AIR CONTINUES TO FILTER IN BEHIND THE FRONT...MOST OF NORTH AND PORTIONS OF CENTRAL GEORGIA WILL DROP TO NEAR OR BELOW FREEZING OVERNIGHT. AS TEMPERATURES DROP BELOW FREEZING...PATCHY DRIZZLE WILL CHANGE OVER TO PATCHY FREEZING DRIZZLE. THIS IS POSSIBLE ANYWHERE ALONG AND NORTH OF A LINE FROM HAMILTON TO MACON TO LOUISVILLE. AT THIS TIME...IT LOOKS LIKE ANY FREEZING DRIZZLE WILL BE PATCHY AT BEST...AND IMPACTS WILL BE LIMITED. HOWEVER...SOME LIGHT ICE ACCRETION WILL BE POSSIBLE ON ELEVATED SURFACES...BUT ANY ACCRETION SHOULD BE LIMITED TO JUST A TRACE. WIDESPREAD TRAVEL ISSUES ARE NOT EXPECTED DUE TO THE WARM GROUND TEMPERATURES...BUT SOME PATCHY ICE MAY DEVELOP ON BRIDGES AND OVERPASSES. THE GREATEST THREAT FOR ISOLATED ROAD ISSUES WILL BE NORTH OF A LINE FROM ROME TO CANTON TO GAINESVILLE WHERE DEEPER MOISTURE WILL BE IN PLACE.

As you know, the pipes in your home are vulnerable to the cold.

Here are  recommendations from the American Red Cross on how to prevent your pipes from freezing, and how to thaw them out before they burst if they do freeze and you catch it in time. Stay warm out there!

Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:
  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action

  • 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.

To Thaw Frozen Pipes

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • 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.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

Future Protection

  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
  • Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • For more information, please contact a licensed plumber or building professional.

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