A cold snap has accompanied the start of the 2018 calendar year in our community.

Temperatures are not projected to rise above freezing on Tuesday and may not rise above 40 degrees until next week. This stretch is causing local officials to warn residents about preventative measures to take care of themselves and their homes.

Orange Water and Sewer Authority is urging residents it serves in southern Orange County to take steps to decrease the possibility of frozen and burst water pipes, which the utility says can cause “water loss and significant property damage.”

OWASA points to pipes in unheated areas, including a crawl space or basement, as pipes that are most likely to freeze. Residents can take preventative steps including sealing the area from cold air, insulating exposed pipes and draining unused pipes.

Opening cabinets to expose pipes to warmer temperatures and allowing faucets to slowly drip are also widely shared tips to help prevent potential damage.

More tips from OWASA are available here.

Orange County Emergency Services officials are also reminding residents they can get a reprieve from the bitter cold by visiting the library or other public facility. Chapel Hill town staff is also working to prepare for any possibility of inclement weather.

Shelters operated locally by the Inter-Faith Council can also expand capacity when temperatures are below 40 degrees.