01/05/10 — Forecasters predict cold temperatures will keep Wayne County shivering

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Forecasters predict cold temperatures will keep Wayne County shivering

By Staff Reports
Published in News on January 5, 2010 1:46 PM

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Both fountains at Mount Olive College tell the story of just how cold it has been for the past several days. Area forecasters said the chilly temperatures will linger through the week, with a slight chance of snow later this week.

Wayne County residents, along with most of their counterparts across the South, braced themselves again today for another day of freezing temperatures, with no letup at least until the weekend.

Temperatures were well below freezing at sunup today. The overnight low was 20 degrees, according to weather spotters at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Monday's high reached only 35.

The National Weather Service was calling for lows in the lower 20s again tonight, with highs in the upper 30s.

Thursday's temperatures are expected to moderate a little and hit the mid-40s, but along with the slightly higher temperatures will come a 30 percent chance of snow.

Temperatures through Saturday aren't expected to get any higher.

Rachel Stevens, a shift manager at Advanced Auto Parts on Berkeley Boulevard, said the store has seen a marked increase in the number of customers with weather-related problems.

Sales of batteries have gone up, along with customer requests for anti-freeze and de-icing liquid.

"A lot more batteries are dying or draining down during the cold," she said. "A lot of them are starting slower. When it's this cold outside, it's harder for them to get started."

The morning was especially chilly for Kenneth Robinson, who worked the graveyard shift at the nearby Breakers gas station.

Robinson said he wore extra layers of clothing to work and "kept bundled up." He said he spent a lot of his time next to a small heater inside his booth.

Many plumbers were having a busy day, with pipes from Mount Olive to Fremont broken by freezing water. A spokesman for Keen Plumbing said there was no one to comment on the rush -- every serviceman was out on a call.

Bruce Malpass, one of the owners of Quality Plumbing and Heating, said the company had not experienced a glut of calls yet, but that many residents' pipes might not have had time to thaw enough to reveal leaks.

Local heating and air conditioning businesses were also seeing a spike in business. Chandler Pernell of Pernell Inc. Heating and Air Conditioning said if he had been sitting in a dark room all year, he would still be able to tell the first-day temperatures dropped below 30 degrees based on the large increase of calls his business gets.

"We're pretty busy right now. We're keeping all our service technicians busy. They're working around the clock and are on call 24/7," he said.

Pernell said most calls have been to repair or replace heating units. He said a good way to make sure a heating unit is ready for winter weather is by getting a tune-up beforehand.

"It's designed to bring people back to factory fresh conditions," he said. "The more dirt that accumulates in the unit, the harder it is for air to flow."