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Chance of record low temperature tonight

Temperatures will approach record lows tonight, and people can take steps to make sure they’re prepared.

Today’s high temperature will be in the upper 30s, and the overnight temperature is expected to drop to 18 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The record low in Rowan County for Nov. 18 is 20 degrees, set in 1937, according to data kept by the Post. For Nov. 19, the lowest temperature recorded was 16 degrees in 1951.

People can take a few steps at home to avoid major problems caused by cold weather.

Water in the pipes may freeze when temperatures are below 20 degrees, causing a buildup of pressure that could result in pipes bursting. When water freezes in a pipe, pressure increases downstream toward a closed faucet.

According to Russell Pruett, a local plumber with Pruett Plumbing, homeowners should leave the cabinets below the sink open so warm air can circulate. He said the same thing should be done with cabinets in front of walls that have pipes behind them.

Letting sink faucets drip slowly will alleviate pressure, and hoses should be disconnected from outdoor faucets.

For people using well water, leaving a light bulb on in the well house can generate enough heat to prevent pipes from freezing, Pruett said.

For people who heat their home using a wood stove or fireplace, a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector should be placed near the heat source, according to Frank Thomason, chief of emergency services for Rowan County.

Infants and the elderly are most susceptible to cold temperatures, he said in an email. Even a slight wind, which is in the forecast for tonight,  can make the temperature feel 5 to 10 degrees colder to exposed skin, Thomason said, adding that warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.

And don’t forget about pets.

Veterinarian Bernie Eberle, with the Rowan Animal Clinic, said pets should be brought indoors, even if only in the garage. The main thing is to limit the time pets spend in the elements, he said, including short walks for dogs — he added owners need to make sure to wipe off their pet’s paws after a walk.

If a dog is kept outside during cold weather, a doghouse will limit exposure. And a thick bed of straw is also good for warmth, Eberle said.

For outdoor cats, leaving the garage slightly open will give them a place to avoid the cold, he said.

For horses and livestock, Eberle said its very important the animals have a constant source of water that won’t freeze. And animals, especially young ones, need a place to go to get out of the wind, he said.

After Tuesday’s deep chill. the forecast calls for the temperature to steadily rise throughout the rest of the week. Wednesday’s forecast calls for a high of 41 degrees. High temperatures are expected to be in the 50s Thursday and Friday, but clear skies at night will bring lows in the mid 20s.

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