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Arctic Air Loosens Its Grip On Maryland

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Another frigid day. Baltimore is still bundling up against the chilly temperatures as the deep freeze settled in across the Northeast.

Mike Hellgren has more on the problems the cold weather’s left behind.

The Maryland Health Department released their newest numbers, showing six cold weather-related deaths in Maryland this season. And that is only through Monday. On top of that, water mains are bursting across the city and pipes breaking as well.

The extreme cold has caused small orange fire sprinkler pipes to burst in several townhomes in Owings Mills, flooding them and causing thousands of dollars in damage.

“Because my husband was home, he heard this loud pop,” said Danielle Jorden-Ellis.

She says the heat was on, but that wasn’t enough.

“I was talking to a fireman last night. He said there’s really nothing that you can do to prevent it,” Jorden-Ellis said. “My husband and I, we just went and stayed at a hotel.”

The same problem has been happening across Maryland on a larger scale, as water mains and service lines rupture, with more than 600 service calls in Baltimore alone.

“So basically, you’re talking at any one particular time, 15 to 20 breaks going on. So, one’s closed out, another may be open somewhere else,” said Kurt Kocher, Maryland Department of Public Works.

And it’s only going to get worse as temperatures climb.

“That type of thaw, there’s going to be a reaction,” said Kocher. “The ground’s going to shift. The ice is going to thaw out. The ice that’s encasing those service lines is going to melt, and so you’re going to see more of this.”

It’s rough on the body, too. The health department released new figures, revealing two more cold weather-related deaths and 17 ER visits last week.

At Sinai Hospital’s ER, doctors saw an extreme case of frostbite on a patient’s hand.

“He wasn’t dealing with water, wasn’t dealing with snow. His gloves weren’t wet by any means. Just outside,” said Dr. Dov Frankel.

Even though the coldest temperatures are over, the troubles from this record-breaking freeze are not–with many just trying to make the best of it.

“It’s OK. We still have a house to live in once they fix it. It’s all repairable. It’s fine,” Jorden-Ellis said.

There are continuing problems with cars, as well. AAA Mid-Atlantic tells WJZ dispatches were 111 percent higher than a normal Tuesday.  On Wednesday, they responded to more than 2,000 stranded motorists as of 4:30 p.m.

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