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Subzero snap causing troubles across Indiana

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 5:24 pm

KNOX — The ongoing bouts of subzero temperatures have left about 20 homes in a northern Indiana city without water because of frozen underground pipes.

Temperatures fell Tuesday to more than 10 degrees below zero in parts of the state, contributing to other troubles, including in the northern Indiana town of Reynolds, where numerous water main breaks closed a highway through the community and prompted officials to tell residents to boil drinking water.

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers said some water lines started freezing Jan. 30 because the pipes in one neighborhood aren't buried deep enough to avoid this winter's hard freeze.

Chambers told WSJV-TV the neighborhood was built during World War II as temporary housing in the 3,700-person city about 30 miles southwest of South Bend.

"We've just never had a winter like this before," he said. "We've never had lines freeze like this before. It's just the extreme conditions."

Christy Clemons said her family hasn't had running water for nearly two weeks.

"We've got to pack water every day. We've got to heat water on the stove just to do dishes," she told WNDU-TV. "We take laundry other places to wash clothes. It's been terrible."

The mayor said he hopes warmer temperatures expected later in the week will allow crews to run hoses from nearby fire hydrants to the houses as a temporary solution.

The deep-freeze temperatures over the last several weeks have been blamed for numerous water main troubles around the state, including major breaks in Reynolds on Monday.

Town Board vice president Chris Fullerton told WLFI-TV that crews had to dig a large hole on U.S. 421 to reach one of the breaks. He said the frozen ground caused long delays for workers in the town about 25 miles north of Lafayette.

The state highway department kept U.S. 421 closed Tuesday to through traffic in the area.

Residents of the 500-person town likely will be asked to boil their drinking water for at least three days, Fullerton said.

The National Weather Service reported temperatures dipping to around 15 below zero early Tuesday in Fort Wayne, Lafayette and Terre Haute, with subzero temperatures reaching well into the southern part of the state. Evansville, in the state's far southwestern corner, recorded a morning low of 4 above zero.

The weather service is forecasting another morning of temperatures around zero or below for much of Indiana on Wednesday, with highs reaching to near 30 degrees or higher by Thursday.