Extreme cold, snow hosts potential problems for travel and homes - KCTV5

Extreme cold, snow hosts potential problems for travel and homes

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JOHNSON COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -

Snow, ice and cold temperatures are what will greet Chiefs fans heading to Indianapolis for Saturday's playoff game.

KCTV5's Alan Shope was making the road trip there Thursday and said snow storms made driving very difficult. In Illinois he saw trucks and cars off the road everywhere and said people were driving 30 miles per hour on some highways.

A look along Interstate 35 in Overland Park, KS, Thursday evening showed that roadways are fairly cleared, but it's a different story when people start to head east. St. Louis, MO, picked up about 2 inches of snow in the past 24 hours

Indianapolis, IN, itself was hit with close to 7 inches in 24 hours and the snow was still falling Thursday.

Despite the bad weather, die-hard Chiefs fans say nothing can stop them. Joel Herring is hitting the road in his car Friday when the forecast looks a lot clearer. He said the Chiefs battled their way to the playoff berth and now the fans will have to take on a tough road too to be sure they're there to support their team.

"I'm not concerned at all. I travel for work and do a lot of driving in the snow. It's something that it's a minor inconvenience, but definitely well worth it to have the opportunity to see a playoff game, hopefully a win," he said.

Once the front passes through Thursday, the forecast is showing clear skies Friday.

The next challenge, though, will be for fans making it home again. There's another chance for snow piling up on Sunday in Indianapolis, the day after the game.

With temperatures this cold, they can cause big problems for homeowners and keep plumbers busy.

Bob Hamilton plumbing in Overland Park, KS, got quite a few calls Thursday from people dealing with burst pipes.

Plumbers say it's a sharp uptick from last year. They say problems usually crop up when places have temperatures sustained below 10 degrees.

KCTV5 meteorologist Hallie Shulman says, with mostly clear skies, temperatures will fall to around negative 2 degrees by Friday morning. Winds will be light out of the north resulting in wind chills around negative 5 degrees to negative 10 degrees. After a warm-up Friday and Saturday, the temperatures will then drop again early next week.

A person's heating system can only put up so much of a fight when it's so cold outside, so plumbing professionals recommend that people make sure warm air can reach their pipes by opening the cabinets under their sinks.

They said it's also good to keep the water in your pipes flowing if you're worried they're close to freezing.

"Slightly more than a drip and both the hot and the cold on at the same time," said Hunter Hamilton with Bob Hamilton Plumbing.

Insulation can be a home's best friend and that goes for pipes too.

"People think that if you put insulation on the pipe then it would keep it from freezing, and it would to some degree, but mostly what you need to do is insulate your house itself and make sure that insulation is covering all the holes," Hamilton said.

Plumbers say the biggest problems usually crop up with people in a new home who may not know yet where their problem areas will be.

Hamilton said the most important thing is to learn where to shut off the water main because that has to be a person's first step when they notice a leak.

"It's going to burst a slice into the pipe and that is the same as turning on a faucet and you'll know pretty quickly if there's a faucet on inside your wall," he said.

Hamilton says to not worry so much about plumbing on a bathroom in the middle of a home, but any pipes that are up against an outside wall are going to be at risk. He said if you turn a faucet on and nothing comes out, that's a first sign there's a block of ice in there.

The key is to catch it early, so if you're heading out of town, it's best to turn the water off altogether before you go.

The American Red Cross offers these tips for preventing and thawing frozen pipes.

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