Below freezing temperatures expected for several days this week - Albuquerque Journal

Below freezing temperatures expected for several days this week

An Albuquerque woman clears the windshield of her car as she prepares to head out Friday morning. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Around 10 Saturday morning, Richard Moya stood on a median near Montaño and Coors Boulevard on the West Side, extending one chapped and ungloved hand toward cars waiting in the left turn lane and holding a cardboard sign in the other.

It was around 12 degrees in Albuquerque at that point, and the temperature had been 8 degrees just a few hours earlier.

“This is the coldest winter we’ve had in a long time,” said Moya, 60, who has lived in Albuquerque his entire life. He’s been homeless for around a year and a half.

This morning is forecast to get down to 9 to 13 degrees in the metro area.

National Weather Service meteorologist Roger Smith said the last week of December and first week of January are typically the coldest of the year here.

“It’s not record-breaking, but it is cold, even for this time of the year,” Smith said.

Record lows for Dec. 29 and 30 were set in 1911 and 1905, respectively, when temperatures reached 4 degrees, Smith said.

Smith said average lows for this time of year are around 25 degrees.

An inch or two of snow is anticipated on Monday with another half-inch expected on New Year’s Day, Smith said.

Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Simon Drobik said Saturday morning that he had received no calls about anyone succumbing to the cold overnight.

Danny Whatley, executive director of The Rock at Noonday, said the sidewalks around the homeless shelter were notably absent of tents and makeshift shelters Saturday morning, usually set up there overnight by those with nowhere else to sleep.

Whatley took that as “a very good sign” that the homeless had taken refuge at area shelters during a time when temperatures plunged to 8 degrees by 6 a.m.

“I think everybody is working on changing their schedules so they can accommodate people through this really cold time,” Whatley said.

The Rock and other institutions that serve the homeless had extended hours due to the cold weather, which are expected to continue throughout the weekend.

But Moya said he is wary of homeless shelters, as he was badly assaulted at one once. Plus, he has two dogs he refers to as “his babies.”

He was hoping to raise enough money Saturday to pay for a motel for the night.

Otherwise, “I’ll sleep in the bosque,” he said. “I don’t have any other choice.”

The subfreezing temperatures also caused headaches for some Albuquerque homeowners.

“Most of the calls from the last 24 hours have been for heating systems,” said Sky Swanson, a manager at TLC Plumbing and Utility. He said some calls about burst pipes also trickled in.

Kostia Dreval gives his wife, Aleksandra, and daughter Maria, 5, a push down the slope at Academy Hills Park on Saturday morning. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Typically, Swanson said, more pipes will burst after temperatures have been below freezing for a couple of days or longer, so he’s especially concerned about the coming week, when it’s expected to be well below freezing from Monday night until Thursday.

First to go are often outdoor faucets, especially when homeowners neglect removing hoses. A trickle from the spigot can result in water freezing all the way up into the pipes in the walls.

Next, it’ll likely be the thin copper pipes that connect water heaters to the more rigid piping inside a house. Swanson said homeowners should check to make sure those are properly insulated and to consider leaving hot and cold taps dripping.

Swanson also recommended keeping thermostats at 60 degrees or above to prevent freezing pipes.

“Spending a little more on heating your home is far less expensive than a plumbing bill, water extraction and remodeling your house,” he said.

Home » News » Albuquerque News » Below freezing temperatures expected for several days this week

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