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Frigid temperatures causing water lines to freeze, state of emergency declared in Oswego

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News (file photo)

The freezing weather continues around central and northern New York and that's causing problems for homeowners dealing with frozen pipes. The problem has gotten so bad in the city of Oswego, that Mayor Tom Gillen has declared a state of emergency in the city.

In a news release, Gillen says that at least 25 homes in several neighborhoods have no water due to frozen pipes. Without water, some residents are left with no heat as well. Gillen says it could be several days before all the pipes are thawed and residents have their water running again.

The city and the Red Cross have opened a shelter in Laker Hall on the SUNY Oswego campus. Food, drinks and a place to sleep are available for anyone without water or heat.

The Oswego County Emergency Management Office says in order to prevent freezing water pipes, try the following:

  • Keep garage doors closed, if there are water supply lines in the garage. 
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals and store them out of the reach of small children. 
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower night-time temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

February is on pace to be the coldest month ever. The temperature in Syracuse hasn't risen above the freezing point at all this month.