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February 6, 2014
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Bone-chilling temperatures in Greeley, Weld result in few incidents (video)

It was so cold on Wednesday, it hurt to breathe.

It was so cold, Jack Frost would have needed a winter coat if he came to Greeley.

Greeleyites woke up Wednesday morning to temperatures well below zero — it was minus 12 in the early morning hours at the University of Northern Colorado — and at the Greeley-Weld County Airport, the wind chill factor was minus 38 degrees. Temperatures didn’t get much better from there, hovering around zero in Greeley and the rest of northern Colorado.

We Coloradans envied the athletes at the Winter Olympics, who enjoyed a balmy 37 degree high in Sochi.

Things will get better today, although the high still isn’t expected to reach the double digits. According to the National Weather Service, the temperature in Greeley should (sort of) warm to 7 degrees today, with a low overnight of minus 4.

Despite the dangers of extreme cold — including frostbite and busted pipes — the day passed with few incidents.

Weld County Sheriff’s Office deputies did stay busy through the day responding to vehicles that slid off roads across the county, said Bureau Chief Steve Reams, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

While no new snow fell across the region, a layer of ice complicated the morning commute and made travel treacherous in some areas before the sun came out. Even through the day, roads remained icy in spots throughout the county with some snow-packed areas.

Greeley Fire Marshal Dale Lyman said crews were not any busier than usual during Wednesday’s icy blast. He hoped that was the case through the evening and daytime Thursday — crews several weeks ago battled a structure fire when it was zero degrees and risked exposure-related injuries.

Lyman reiterated that people who plan on using a space heater need to ensure it has at least 30 inches of space around it to prevent a fire. Heaters should also be kept in areas away from pets or children.

Home furnaces and carbon monoxide detectors should also be checked routinely, he stressed.

Greeley-Evans School District 6 and most other school districts in Weld County opened without issue. Eaton Re-2 had a small crinkle in its schedule, starting with a two-hour delay.

Theresa Myers, director of communication for District 6, said the district’s priority is to open school so long as roads are passable.

“When we talk about closing school, we look at how it’s going to impact all 20,000 students,” she said. “We have 12,000 of those students living in poverty. They might not eat; they may be unsupervised that day; there may not be heat at their house. The best and safest place to be is in our warm schools, where they are not only learning but getting fed and getting taken care of.”

Myers said the district learned from its mistakes on Jan. 6, when they closed school due to the cold because it couldn’t get buses started.

District personnel have been more diligent in adding additives to the fuel to make sure it doesn’t gel. And they have replaced older batteries that were having a hard time turning over in the extreme cold.

“We had no problems with buses this morning,” she said.

Myers said any parent who does not believe it is safe for their child to get to school may keep them home and the school will give them an excused absence.

There were no problems reported at either the University of Northern Colorado or Aims Community College.

Public works departments in Greeley and Weld County reported no issues, aside from a minor water leak at the Lincoln Park Annex building in downtown Greeley.

“We’re seeing some of our heating equipment struggling a little bit to keep up” with the freezing temperatures, said Joel Hemesath, Greeley’s public works director, on Wednesday.

He said the good news was the faithful Colorado sunshine, which did warm pavement to help with road conditions.


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My Windsor Now Updated Feb 6, 2014 12:38PM Published Feb 8, 2014 12:07AM Copyright 2014 My Windsor Now. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.