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Frigid Temps Cause Problems Throughout Maryland

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After two days of bitter cold, the frigid temperatures are creating havoc in Maryland.

Suzanne Collins reports we’re seeing everything from frostbite to frozen pipes.

Frostbite and hypothermia cases are showing up in the emergency rooms. The cold is also creating other frustrations, like broken down cars and no water.

Plumbers all over Baltimore are getting calls about frozen pipes.

“Especially two days in a row when it’s this cold, that’s when the freezing can happen.  Probably not just no water, but having them freeze and then burst,” said Jamie Smith, Mr. Rooter.

The pipes will be warmed and insulation installed.

Outside, slicks of ice make sidewalks slippery.  Emergency rooms are buzzing with activity.

“People have been coming in with some mild hypothermia from being cold, especially if they’ve been wet,” said Dr. Brian Corwell.

When the body temperature drops below 95, there can be confusion.

“The people we’re most worried about are the people who’ve lost the ability to shower.  They feel they’re not warming up on their own,” Corwell said.

One construction worker on Pratt Street avoided danger by wearing six layers after realizing he should have done that Tuesday.

“Yesterday was brutal.  I didn’t have as many clothes on.  I wasn’t prepared at all,” said Jason Livingston.

Firefighters struggled to remain at a fire for hours Wednesday in Northeast Baltimore and running water made it even harder.  They covered most of their faces to cope. 

The cold is stranding some on the road.

AAA received 2,400 calls in Maryland for emergency roadside assistance.  That’s about 900 more than they normally receive on a December weekday.  Many of them were for batteries that died in the cold.

One man was ready with his gloves, hat, scarf and wool coat on a day when doctors say staying warm is a matter of survival.

Three deaths have been linked to hypothermia in Maryland this winter and the health department expects more.

To learn more about preventing hypothermia, click here.  To learn more about keeping your pipes from freezing, click here.

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