The extreme cold weather on Monday wasn’t just alarming for electric companies, who were also concerned about depleting energy reserves early that morning.
The last time Graham had a temperature so low on Jan. 6 was in 1979, when it reached 8 degrees. On Monday, the temperatures dropped to 12 degrees, and while that figure was several degrees shy of Graham’s all time record for the month of January, -8 degrees in 1947 according to Intellicast.com, the cold snap still left its mark.
Throughout the city, people, animals and Graham itself were affected by the sudden temperature plummet.
“This morning I’ve had pipes frozen all over town,” said Bill Duncan, owner of Duncan Plumbing in Graham. “They’re not busted and leaking yet, but they will be as soon as it thaws out. The city told me there’s been about 100 leaks. This cold has really done a number on the pipes in the city, as soon as it thaws out a little bit, it should be crazy.”
Duncan said that should happen by Tuesday. Another aspect of the cold requiring plumbers to wait for thaw was that of plastic pipes, which cannot take extreme heat. Duncan said that on top of metal and copper pipes, a large amount of the pipes in Graham are plastic.
Water distribution lines were also affected by the cold, as at least four lines ruptured on Monday, the largest occurring on the intersection of Johnnie and Texas Streets, causing city workers to scramble to repair it. Other ruptured lines were at the intersections of South and Pecan Streets, Fourth and Plum Streets, Third and East Streets, and in the alley on Mustang Drive.
Public Works Administrator David Casteel said that the line breaks are most likely the result of faulty valves in combination with the extremely cold weather.
“The first cold snap hit us pretty hard,” he said. “But we still haven’t really had as many breaks during this cold weather as we did during the first cold front.”
Another facet of Graham hit hard by the cold was the stray animal population. Young County Humane Society Director Kim Baxter said that while her facilities do provide respite from the bitter elements, cold snaps can serve as a mixed bag for sheltered animals.
“We seem to get more strays,” Baxter said. “People seem to notice them more when it’s cold and take them in because they don’t want animals to suffer. But one thing that’s not great is that our hot water heater was out, along with our heater in the back, so I guess when it rains it pours.”
Read the entire story in the Wednesday edition of The Graham Leader.