Bitterly cold weather expected to blast into Pikes Peak region

By: matt steiner
December 2, 2013 Updated: December 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm
Caption +
Jimmie Garcia's dog, Sophia watches him as he shovels a driveway near his thrift store along a snow covered Willamette Avenue in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. (Kent Nishimura, The Gazette)

An arctic blast is expected to rip through the Pikes Peak region Tuesday evening and stay for the rest of the week.

As National Weather Service forecasters predict the chill to bring near record-low temperatures, area plumbers are getting ready for a potential torrent of burst pipes before the cold front moves out. Parts of the Pikes Peak region also could see up to 12 inches of snow fall over two days.

"By next week, we will get calls for a flood of water," said Tom Mudd, general manager of Affordable Plumbing & Heat in Colorado Springs.

Mudd said the pipes will freeze, but don't tend to burst until temperatures begin to warm up again.

The weather service is calling for highs in the low to mid-40s in Colorado Springs on Tuesday. But by early Wednesday morning, a cold front should bring readings below five degrees.

Highs are only expected to reach the teens through Saturday as the cold front could produce below-zero temperatures Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. The Dec. 4 record low of minus-4 in Colorado Springs could be in jeopardy.

Mudd and Joel Van Horn, of Olson Plumbing & Heating, each recommend that homeowners take precautions to keep pipes from freezing and make sure heating systems are in top shape.

They recommend opening cabinets to allow uninsulated pipes heat from the rest of the house. Each says to leave faucets running at a very slow trickle if there is concern that supply pipes might freeze. And they suggest keeping thermostats set around 70 degrees during extremely cold nights.

"Some might see it as wasteful," Mudd said. "But on the other hand, when pipes burst, a lot of gallons of water could go to waste."

Mudd says his 24/7 operation always has plumbers on hand to deal with frozen pipes. According to Van Horn, Olson Plumbing & Heating was working hard Monday to prepare thawing machines and make sure it has enough manpower on call.

Mudd also recommends that homeowners have their heating systems checked before the temperatures fall dangerously low. He said regular maintenance not only will keep furnaces working efficiently, but also will help reduce the chance of hazardous carbon monoxide levels entering the home.

Along with the cold, the weather service is predicting a 60 to 70 percent chance of snow for the entire Pikes Peak region Tuesday night and into Wednesday.

Colorado Springs could get several inches overnight Tuesday and again on Wednesday, with higher elevations receiving even more accumulation. There will be a slight chance of snow through Sunday, but forecasters expect it to be minimal late in the week.

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