• Concrete-like ice freezes region, makes storm cleanup difficult

    By: Litsa Pappas , Robert Goulston , Drew Karedes

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Concrete-like ice made storm cleanup nearly impossible Monday. 

    Sunday's storm brought snow to New England, but even worse, freezing rain and single digit temperatures that turned wet piles into cement. Residents struggled to de-ice their cars and sidewalks. 

    "Oh my God, it's cold," said Jack Duffy. 

    School and Business Closings, Delays >>

    AAA says they spent Monday swamped with calls for people needing help with their cars - doors frozen shut, windshield wipers stuck in place, and dead batteries.

    "Battery calls people whose locks have frozen, we see a lot of people warming up their car as they should but then they lock their keys in the car so lockouts are also a problem," said AAA spokesperson Mary Maguire. 

    Maguire says their calls for assistance double on Monday because of the cold and they're only expecting calls to jump even more Tuesday as many return to work and school following the long holiday weekend. 

    Latest forecast: Cold, Windy, and Icy

    Schools across the area began announcing closings and delays early Tuesday morning.

    Untreated surfaces and bitter cold were the biggest concerns early in the morning as children made their way to school. 

    Slippery roads caused a messy commute for drivers heading to work as multiple crashes were reported across the area. 

    The MBTA as well as the Commuter Rail advised riders to allow for more time in their commutes as trains were running anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes behind.

    Owen Snyder was among local residents impacted by the deep freeze.

    “It turned to ice, makes it treacherous to walk around," Snyder said. 

    It can be even more treacherous if arctic air gets a grip on the pipes inside your home.

    Charlie Malley with Pinnacle Plumbing and Heating says it can happen quickly if you’re not paying attention, one of the most common causes of property damage during bone-chilling weather. 

    "For the most part it's just trying to keep the house as warm as you can," said Malley. “If I were to say a number, I'd say 68 degrees or warmer."

    He recommends you keep it there while leaving for work and even while sleeping.

    Another overnight tip is allowing the water to trickle in your sinks.

    “Keep a slow drip on those overnight so constant water moving won't freeze," Malley said. 


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    He says it’s also a good idea to open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. Malley points out that pipes in unheated interior spaces, like basements, attics and garages are at the greatest risk of freezing or bursting. 

    He recommends insulating those areas for protection.

    AAA also recommends drivers keep a safety kit in your car during dangerous conditions, including a shovel, ice scraper, blankets, de-icer and water bottles. 

    Here's your checklist for major winter storms

    But cleaning your car isn't all you have to worry about. There are rules for what property owners need to clear in order to avoid getting a ticket. 

    In Boston, the city requires you to clear a 42-inch wide section of sidewalk down to the pavement, but in conditions like what we saw this weekend, the city says clear it as flat as possible and treat it with sand, rock salt or something else to give traction, like sawdust. 

    Construction equipment was being used near Copley to remove the concrete-like snow banks. Boston Public Works tells us they are working nonstop in the freezing conditions and focusing on school bus routes for Tuesday when students go back to school.

    >> Flash freeze overnight makes for dangerous ice on roads & sidewalks

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