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Cold weather precautions encouraged

Not all the stockings are hanging in the house awaiting SantaClaus’ little gifts today.

Cold weather heralded the emergence of winter in the areaTuesday, with temperatures dropping into the low 20s during thenight.

Frost lay in sheets across pastures and the windshields ofvehicles this morning with temperatures around 23 degrees as peopleprepared to go to work at 7:30. A freeze warning was in effectuntil 10 a.m.

Temperatures are expected to remain in the upper 20s for much oftonight and climb into the mid-50s during the day Thursday.

Several local businessmen offered tips on how residents can helppreserve their property this winter season.

Most winterizing simply relies on common sense, but there are afew tips that could save people some unnecessary expense, saidRobbie Jackson, part owner of Jackson Ross Plumbing and ContractorsInc.

Store-bought black foam pipe insulation works well, withStyrofoam boxes to cover the faucets, he said. However, theinsulation can be overwhelmed.

“Pipe insulation is good for temperatures around the low 20s,but when you get into the teens the best thing is running water,”Jackson said. “The best thing to do is leave your faucets drippingbecause running water won’t freeze.”

A common mistake that people make is trying to force pipes tothaw faster, he said.

“I would not suggest attempting to force thaw a pipe becausethey tend to burst,” he said. “If you do try though, a hair dryertends to work best.”

Jackson also suggested people open their cabinets to let heatreach the interior pipes, place heat lamps near outdoor pumps andwells and not turn off the heat when leaving the house.

Paul Smith, the owner of J&P Nursery, recommended peoplebring in any potted plants. Adding mulch to the base of shrubs andtrees can help protect their roots, he added.

“Any buds which are about to open on plants that cannot bebrought inside should be covered by a sheet or something to keepthem from freezing,” he said.