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Frigid Temps Causing Major Transportation And Health Problems

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Rochelle Ritchie 370 x 278 Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There’s no escaping the deep freeze. It was another day of bitter cold temperatures.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the problems the cold continues to cause.

It’s so cold, MTA officials say motors on some of their train cars have started to freeze and doctors across the city are starting to see more people with frostbite.

Razor sharp icicles take shape across Baltimore, as freezing temperatures plague the city.

“This stuff gets stuck. Everything is under the train,” said Paulette Austrich, MTA spokesperson.

MTA officials say it’s so cold, train cars had to be pulled from the tracks after several of their motors shut down.

“The light snow gets sucked into the cooling propulsion system and that causes problems with the electric motor. It shorts the motor, so we have to pull those trains out for safety,” Austrich said.

Officials say passengers could have longer wait times in the cold.

“We’ve had to pull about 30 cars just for this specific problem,” said Austrich.

So far, the trains have remained on schedule and many haven’t noticed a change at all.

“I’m kind of indifferent. I just kind of get on the train and go and sleep. So it’s fine,” one passenger said.

Fine for one person, but a possible issue for drivers heading to Montgomery County, where the bitter cold has caused a major water main break near Rockville Pike.

“We had a 16-inch water main break right next to Rockville Pike. These temperatures are low enough that immediately we had a sheet of ice across both the northbound and southbound lanes,” said a spokesperson.

And if getting around in the cold isn’t an issue, standing outside in it definitely has its dangers.

“Here you can see a fracture of the index finger and a near amputation of the middle finger,” said Dr. Ryan Katz.

At MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, they’ve had to treat people for frostbite–one person because they had their skin exposed while texting. Others have had to have their fingers amputated because of snow blowers.

“Unfortunately, the devices often get jammed. When they do, patients will put their hands into the device to try and clear whatever is blocking it from working,” Katz said.

These biting temperatures not only causing mechanical problems, but also health issues. MTA officials say it could be at least a week before they got those train cars back on track.

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