Mother Nature helped ring in the New year with plenty of Brrrrrrrrs as temperatures well below zero wreaked havoc on plumbing and livestock and made battling an early morning fire even more difficult for the Memphis Fire Department.
Temperatures on New Year’s day were reported as low as 15 below zero in Scotland County.
Those frigid conditions resulted in plenty of overtime for local plumbers as dozens of homes and businesses battle with frozen water and sewer pipes.
“It started Saturday night (December 30th) and didn’t quit,” said marlin Oberholtzer of Oberholtzer Plumbing. “It was extremely cold, combined with some pretty good wind that dropped the wind chill even further. Plus it didn’t help that the ground is pretty dry, which seems to let the cold travel through to the plumbing even better.”
Memphis City Utilities Superintendent Stacy Alexander stated municipal crews weathered the spell fairly well, dealing with just a single frozen water meter and no major service interruptions.
There was plenty of water for the Memphis Fire Department, but keeping it flowing was an issue on Wednesday morning, January 3rd, as the department battled a structure fire at 122 W. Mety Street where a blaze destroyed a garage. The fire department was able to work through the frigid conditions to insure the flames didn’t reach the adjacent home.
Despite the hazardous conditions, local medical professionals indicated there were no issues with hypothermia or other related injuries as a result of the cold spell, which lasted all week before breaking this weekend.
Dr. Jeff Davis stated “No cold weather-related injuries thus far have been seen in the Emergency Room, Urgent Care or in the clinics at Scotland County Hospital.”
While temperatures are expected to rise well above freezing this week, hospital representatives offered some warning signs to watch for, if and when the frigid temperatures return to northeast Missouri.
Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and pale or waxy white appearance of extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the tip of the nose. Other signs may include numbness, a tingling or stinging sensation in the affected body part, and reduced blood flow. If any of these symptoms are detected, please seek help immediately.
The warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. In infants, the skin will turn bright red and cold, and they may present with a very low energy level. If any of these signs appear get the victim to a warm location immediately and call 911 for immediate medical assistance.
Because of the cold conditions, Scotland County R-I School District resumed classes on January 4th under a two-hour delay.
Warmer temperatures brought some relief late in the week, but Mother Nature kept things interesting with an ice storm on Sunday, January 7th that was made trickier by the cold ground temperatures holding over from earlier in the week.
The Missouri Department of Transportation issued a Travel Advisory on Sunday and carried it over into Monday morning.
“A major concern is icing,” said MoDOT District Engineer Paula Gough. “Because of the extreme cold the past two weeks, it will take longer for the ground temperatures to rise, and as a result, rain on the pavement could freeze even if temperatures are above freezing. There is significant concern for black ice on roads and bridges.”
SCR-I took heed of the warnings and after initially planning a two-hour delay on Monday, January 8th, canceled classes all together.
Area motorists also were aware of the conditions. The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office reported just a single call regarding a weather-related traffic incident, with a vehicle sustaining damage after it ran off a slick roadway and went through a fence.
The lone injury-accident reported by the Missouri Highway Patrol in Scotland County occurred on Monday afternoon and was not weather-related.