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Residents advised to take precautions during cold snap

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Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 12:00 am

With temperatures expected to dip as low as the high 20s late this week, Lodi residents have been advised to take a number of precautions to keep their homes safe.

According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature today is supposed to top out at 47 degrees, and temperatures may fall as low as 25 tonight.

The cold will continue Thursday with a forecast high of 45 and an overnight low of 28. Friday will see a chance of rain and a high of 44 and a low of 37.

Saturday’s forecast high is 43 and lows will again fall below freezing at 26.

Wally Sandelin, the city of Lodi’s Public Works director, said the pipes connecting homes to the city’s underground infrastructure are the pipes that commonly freeze when temperatures drop.

Sandelin said residents should wrap any exposed pipes around their homes with blankets or large beach towels to help prevent freezing. The city’s commercial customers should also wrap external pipes and utility systems to keep them from freezing.

He said he remembers when temperatures in Lodi dropped to as low as 19 degrees a few years ago, and a relative did not wrap their pipes. The cold was so severe, the pipe actually broke after freezing, he said.

In addition to keeping exposed pipes warm, Sandelin said outdoor plants need to be covered as well as watered.

“When plants are kept outside, it’s best to water them from time to time, because outside water will help keep them from drying out when temperatures get so cold,” he said. Another way to protect plants is to bring them indoors, he said.

Sandelin said residents should make sure their sprinklers are not leaking and are completely turned off, as water that escapes onto sidewalks can create a slipping hazard. He said residents should be aware that if a pedestrian is injured after slipping and falling in front of their property, the property owner will be responsible.

Cats and dogs are also going to be affected by the cold temperatures, and Animal Friends Connection board member Patricia Sherman said pets need to be brought indoors.

“If there are people who simply can’t have a cat or dog in the house, they can put them in the garage,” she said. “I know that can be just as cold as the outdoors, but providing them with blankets or a heated doghouse will help.”

While there are owners who keep their dogs outdoors at night, Sherman said a heated doghouse should be provided. Cats that are kept outside will most likely escape from yards and hide under car hoods or in wheel wells for warmth, she said. Residents should check their vehicles in the mornings before starting them to make sure neighborhood cats will not be startled or harmed.

If residents have a cat door, it’s advisable to lock it before the cat gets out, she said.

Sherman said dog owners may not have to worry as much if they have a doggy door, as many canines know how cold it can be outside and will stay indoors.

“Twenty-seven degrees is just way too cold,” Sherman said. “If your plants freeze in this weather, you know your pets will. People really need to keep them inside.”

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