A slow-moving mass of frigid air has settled over Middle Georgia, sending temperatures down to their lowest levels of the winter.
The National Weather Service predicts overnight lows of 20 degrees and below through Wednesday night, with a chance of snow Thursday night. Daytime highs should be in the mid-40s.
“It’s a cold northwest flow bringing the temps down from the northern part of the country,” said meteorologist Brian Lynn of the National Weather Service’s office in Peachtree City. “It’s a persistent system. ... This particular pattern pretty much set up on Friday.”
Lynn said chances for snow this week are pretty good for north Georgia, and “at least part of central Georgia could get cold enough to see some amount of snowfall.”
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Before this cold snap, the coldest temperature in Macon this winter was 26 degrees on Dec. 21. The record low for January in Macon is minus 6 degrees, recorded Jan. 21, 1985. The average daily minimum temperature for January 2009 is 36 degrees.
The frosty air is bad news for Macon’s homeless people. Fortunately, they can seek shelter at places like the Salvation Army and the Macon Rescue Mission.
“We had maybe four people come in last night,” Alvin Outlaw said Sunday. Outlaw is assistant manager of the drug and alcohol program at the Macon Rescue Mission. “I believe we’ll have more tonight.”
Outlaw said the mission, located at the corner of Hazel and First streets, normally houses about 40 men who are participating in the mission’s substance abuse program. When the temperature drops below 30 degrees he usually sees in influx of men seeking shelter from the cold. The mission will offer them beds if any are available. If not, they have lots of mattresses to throw on the floor.
Water expands when it freezes, so it’s a good idea to take precautions to prevent cold temperatures from causing your plumbing to burst.
Gary McCoy, director of water treatment for the Macon Water Authority, said the best way to project your pipes is to make sure they are properly insulated. One cheap and easy solution is to buy plastic foam cups that fit over outdoor faucets. They’re available at most home improvement stores.
You can also prevent frozen pipes by opening up indoor faucets a little bit to get the water moving.
“My advice to the customers is to let your water run just about the width of a pencil lead — that should do it,” McCoy said. Running cold water in the kitchen and the bathroom sink should be adequate, he said.
“Some customers think they should run the hot water, and that’s not a good idea. You’ll just run out of hot water.”
McCoy recommended against opening outdoor faucets in freezing weather, because the water could flow onto a roadway and freeze, creating a safety hazard.
“And unscrew your garden hose and let the water run out,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re going to be shopping for a new hose, because it’s going to burst.”