Single digit temperatures aren't unheard of in the Mt. Shasta area, but air that cold can have unpleasant side effects, including dangerous, icy roads and frozen pipes.
Single digit temperatures aren't unheard of in the Mt. Shasta area, but air that cold can have unpleasant side effects, including dangerous, icy roads and frozen pipes. The thermometer read -3 in Mount Shasta City Sunday morning, Dec. 8, breaking by two degrees a record for that day in history, set in 1972. But that's nothing compared to the -10 degrees recorded in McCloud on Monday. “It's amazing how cold this air is,” said Mount Shasta's National Weather Observer Frank Christina. “Normal highs for this time of year are in the low 40s, and we've been in the 30s all week.” The official all time record low in Mount Shasta came on Dec. 22, 1990, when it was -13 degrees, Christina noted. California Highway Patrol officer Kim Baldi said his office was busy on Friday evening, with “multiple” spin outs on ice. “Fortunately, so far, there have been no injury collisions,” he said, due in part to the fact that Interstate 5 has been well maintained. Siskiyou Plumbing and Electrical has had well over 100 calls for service to fix frozen water pipes since Saturday. Employees worked through the weekend but haven't been able to get to them all. Tom Houston, owner of Houston Plumbing in Mount Shasta, said he's had at least 25 calls over the past few days for frozen pipes. “It's ugly,” he said. “I heard we didn't break any records, but it hasn't been this cold in a long time.” Houston explained that one common problem spot is a quarter inch section of galvanized pipe that connects the pressure tank to the electrical switch. It only takes about a half hour for that piece to freeze, and if it does, the water pump will kick off. He also worries about vacation homes which might have pipes that cracked during the extreme cold when no one was around to notice a lack of water. Mount Shasta's Barbara Jones said her frozen pipes gave her encouragement to go to the gym so she could use the shower after her workout. Stacey Mack of Mount Shasta said her husband put two small space heaters near the well opening where their pipes were frozen, covered them with boxes and blankets, and let them run for two hours to unfreeze them. “We once again have running water, now to make sure we leave a few faucets running in the house during this cold spell at all times,” Mack said Monday morning. “I took a 30 second shower this morning before it ran out on me. Most important is to shut off our well pump when you lose your water, or it will burn up your pump.” “Milking cows for our herdshare members in -1 weather is very un-fun,” said Shawna Barr, who owns and operates Kid Creek Farm in Mount Shasta on Monday. “Even our hot water in the barn is frozen solid, requiring us to carry hot water from the house to wash our milking machine!” Tatiana Keen, who lives on A-12 north of Weed, collected eggs which were completely frozen when she cracked them into her frying pan Sunday morning. They were still edible, but had to be defrosted for a few minutes prior to cooking, she said. Her chickens dealt with the freezing weather by sitting out in the sun or fluffing up around a heat lamp inside the coop, she said. “We have a heat lamp in the well/pump house, we also leave faucets dripping, and both wood stoves going,” said Mount Shasta's Jenelle Walker Monday afternoon. “As for winter driving: four wheel drive, slow down, and leave earlier than you normally would. Now if I could keep the chicken's water from freezing! Oh and five layers of clothes if you go for a run.” “The pipes to my washing machine are frozen, guess God is telling me I don't have to do laundry until it warms up,” joked Dee Houck of Weed Monday morning. Katelyn Kleinhans of Lake Shastina said the cold snap “froze my drainage pipes for my heater resulting in me using my propane insert for heat for 24 hours, costing me a lot of money in fuel costs.” Others are grateful for the small and caring community we live in. Mount Shasta's Laurie Bagley said she called on Mt. Shasta Tire at 6 p.m. Dec. 7 to help her with a flat tire. “I was assured that even though it was past closing they would make sure I was taken care of and not left stranded” at the Mt. Shasta Shopping Center. “This meant a lot to me and I feel very grateful to live in a place where businesses and the people that work at the businesses provide amazing service,” she said.