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L.I. Residents Worry About Frozen Power Lines, Pipes In Bitter Cold

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PLAINVIEW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – With temperatures plummeting to the single digits overnight Monday night into Tuesday, a significant fear has mounted that rain-soaked trees will end up covered in ice.

And when winds kick up overnight, the ice-coated branches could bring down electric power lines.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, precautionary tree trimming was already under way on Long Island Monday afternoon.

And meanwhile in Plainview, sirens wailed on police squad cars as live power lines buckled and snapped. It was a possible precursor of things to come, as arctic air was poised to move in and threaten the rain-soaked electric grid, turning wet wires into icicles.

PSEG Long Island was already out trimming back trees and keeping limbs away from power lines Monday afternoon. Pruning was expected to cut back on tree-related outages when heavy ice brings down branches.

Tree-related outages were a continuous complaint when the old Long Island Power Authority was in charge.

“We are significantly expanding the tree trimming programs, which is one of the most effective programs for hardening your system against storms and protecting reliability,” said PSEG Long Island president and chief operating officer David Daly.

Meanwhile, concerns have also mounted about the threat of frozen pipes. Experts said the frigid forecast should jumpstart residents into following this advice:

• Know where your home’s main shutoff valve is, so water can be turned off in an emergency;

• Protect uninsulated pipes with foam-rubber sleeves;

• Make sure your meter lid is closed tightly;

• Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees;

• Open cabinets to let warn air reach pipes;

• For extended cold snaps, allow a trickle of water to run overnight.

But pipes could still freeze.

“We recommend if someone does come across frozen service lines, don’t try to do it themselves,” said Brian Bruce of New York American Water. “Call the plumber. Call us to come out first and make sure they have the water shut off before they do try to thaw it.”

As severe cold approached Monday evening, Long Islanders were bracing themselves.

“Everybody’s out buying out the salt and everything,” one resident said.

“You got your boiler system that’s working, your have your ice melt at home,” another said.

Experts said water pipes that run along exterior walls are especially prone to freezing when they are exposed to air leaks.

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