Dedication

Kyle Renning, 17, left, practices his long snapping skills with his brother Hayden Friday evening at the Sinagua Middle School football field. Kyle is on the Coconino High School football team while Hayden is the long snapper for the Northern Arizona Universty football team. The brothers used a snow shovel to dig out a practice strip as the temperature was dropping into the teens. (Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun)

Jake Bacon

A woman living in southern Flagstaff called firefighters Saturday night when water began pouring through her ceiling.

They had to break into the apartment upstairs to find the problem: A burst pipe -- as has happened more than 100 other area homes in the past few days.

Plumbers report phones ringing around the clock this past weekend, and all day on Monday.

"We have just have had tons and tons of frozen and burst pipes," said Crista Peace, of Mountain High Plumbing.

The bitter cold that has descended on Flagstaff looks to be the coldest five-day stretch in 22 years.

The National Weather Service in Bellemont, reports that starting Friday and forecast through today, the five-day average temperature (lows vs. highs) will be 8.3 degrees, and the average high will be 21.2 degrees. That makes for the coldest five-day stretch so far this century and since at least 1990, according to the Weather Service.

So far, the lowest temperature in the region has been the 24 degrees below zero recorded early Sunday morning in Bellemont. Other lows Sunday morning were minus 20 degrees at Grand Canyon Airport, minus 18 in Fort Valley and minus 7 at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. Flagstaff's low set a record for Jan. 13 dating back to 1963, when it was 6 below.

The high Monday in Flagstaff was just 16 degrees, breaking the record for the coldest high temperature for the date of 23 in 2007.

Peace said it's possible she's had more than 100 calls since the deep cold began late last week.

The city of Flagstaff was working on 15 calls from customers asking for water to be shut off as of midday Monday.

The problems are under sinks, but include some freezing sewer lines too, said one employee at T.C.R. Plumbing.

She had 20 calls over the weekend and 40 jobs lined up as of Monday.

Workers were chiseling away at one crawl space that had frozen entirely, hoping to gain access.

Employees with Northern Arizona Restoration were working until 11 p.m. on Sunday, responding to three flooded homes in Pine Canyon.

Each of the business' 14 employees was busy, and the company had ordered more equipment to dry out flooded homes.

"We've received at least 22 to 25 phone calls. More is happening as far as broken pipes, all over Flagstaff -- from one end of town to the other," said owner Nick De Luca.

They responded to a flooded three-story home that flooded from top to bottom, and packed more than 300 boxed of belongings to clean out and dry up one home.

It makes more sense to pay a bigger heating bill than for expensive home repairs, he tells customers.

"This is typical this time of year. I try to tell people -- turn the heat up, open up the cabinet doors and allow the heat to get in there," he said.

After Monday's bitter cold, things will warm up slightly today, with the mercury predicted to reach 24 but wind chills well below zero as winds gust to 28 mph. It won't be until Wednesday's predicted high of 36 degrees that Flagstaff will finally get above freezing again.

Cyndy Cole can be reached at ccole@azdailysun.com or at 913-8607.

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