Deep freeze finally leaves

The deep freeze that enveloped the area for more than a week was so cold, that it actually felt kind of warm this past Tuesday when the high was just 21 degrees.
Many area ranchers are calving, with the newborns in peril if not sheltered from frozen weather in short order. Many others still had to work outside despite the arctic conditions — feedlots, dairies, postal workers, construction workers, even pizza delivery folks, plus many more.

Though not official yet, the region set record “low max” temperatures, as well as record low temperatures. Plus, there were wind chills that went into the 30-below-zero range.
The arctic blast was one of the most enduring in recent memory, beginning on Monday, February 8, and lasting through Monday, February 15. While still cold Tuesday, the air definitely did not still contain that arctic feel.
A gradual “warm up” is coming as daytime temps are supposed to get into the high 30s by Friday, and the extended forecast calls for 50s early next week.
Daytime highs remained in double figures last Monday through Thursday, February 11, though 14 degrees was as high as it got those days.

Vehicles lined up as children were dropped off for school, Tuesday, which was a delayed start for the Yuma schools. (Pioneer Photo)

The high was 5 degrees on February 12, with an overnight low of zero.
It just kept getting colder as the high last Saturday was zero, and an overnight low of minus-9; Sunday’s “high” was minus-3, and the overnight low minus-23. It warmed to 7 degrees this past Monday, but the overnight low (Sunday into Monday) was minus-26 degrees — and that was without the wind chill. The overnight low Monday into Tuesday was minus-5 prior to it finally starting to warm up a bit.
Despite the dangerous cold, life and work continued. For example, the crew at Schramm Feedlot still had to break ice on 150 tanks three times per day. Pen riders still had to go out and check pens for sick cattle and take any to the hospital for treatment. The crew had to bring two pens of fat cattle to the office for shipping on Monday, and feeders still had to deliver one million pounds of feed.
Luckily, area schools had Monday off due to Presidents’ Day.
Yuma School District-1 then utilized a late start on Tuesday due to the ongoing frigid conditions.
There were heating issues in some classrooms at Morris Elementary and Yuma Middle schools on Monday. At MES, the boilers were freezing up, and at YMS too much air froze the condensation line so the float would not work properly. There also was a valve problem in one of the junior high classrooms.
Superintendent Dianna Chrisman reported that the buses were holding up fine.
Part of the reason for Tuesday’s delayed start, Chrisman said, was issues experienced by the city on Monday.
City Manager Scott Moore told the Pioneer that two trucks equipped with plows kept having their air brake systems freezing up, cutting short Monday’s snow removal work. Everything was back in working order on Tuesday.
The city received several calls of frozen water lines at residences. Moore said each of those ended up being with the residences’ water line, not the city’s line.
The Waste Water Department had an electronic control freeze up, which the crew had to fix in the frozen temperatures, and there was an issue with a heater in one of the buildings.
Yuma did not experience any power outages during the deep freeze.
Despite the prolonged arctic blast, the region was better off than much of the rest of the country, with 25 states or more inundated with snow and ice, plus power outages.
With such a huge amount of the country dealing with serious winter conditions, there were concerns about overloads to the electric grid, and the potential for rolling outages.
The city was back out clearing the street Tuesday after running into freezing issues on Monday. (Pioneer Photo)
The City of Yuma put out a press release on Monday about conserving energy.
“The City of Yuma is urgently asking customers to cut down on their power and natural gas usage to mitigate the risk of potential power outages due to extreme cold weather and increased regional demand.
“Customers are urged to lower their thermostats by 3 degrees, unplug unnecessary appliances, close fireplace dampers, and refrain from large appliance use as much as possible.
“Our community’s wholesale power supplier, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is a member of Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which oversees the power grid of an area stretching from Oklahoma to the Canadian border.  SPP has declared Energy Emergency Alerts (EEA) that remain in effect until further notice. Due to widespread and extreme cold, worsening conditions are creating energy deficiencies in the region and may lead to controlled service interruptions.
“Additionally, extremely high demand is causing wholesale electricity and natural gas prices to skyrocket. Conservation efforts and immediately reducing demand in our region is in everyone’s best interest. The City of Yuma appreciates our customers’ assistance in conserving electricity and natural gas to help mitigate grid interruptions during these extremely cold conditions.”