How cold is it? Pipes freeze, ski hill closes

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The holiday vacation means that Minnesota school district officials don't have to agonize over whether to cancel classes during the cold snap. But the steep temperature drop and bitter cold is leading to other closures and some headaches for homeowners.

FOX 9 reports plenty of problems with frozen pipes. The station offered some simple suggestions to keep water meters and pipes gurgling along. The tips include resisting the urge to turn down the heat too low if the house is empty and opening kitchen cabinets so warm air can get inside.

But Dave Vogelgesang of Aqua City Plumbing advised against leaving a faucet flowing in a trickle. "That can cause problems because the waste line is also in that cold area," he told the station. "If the waste line freezes up, it's going to be just like an icicle. Then … it's going to overflow."

The story also advised sealing and caulking cracks, insulating pipes and attaching a circulator to the water heater to move hot water through pipes.

Meanwhile, the Duluth News Tribune reports the sub-zero temperatures are proving too much for even the winter-toughened residents of northeastern Minnesota. Frigid conditions prompted the Sunday closure at Duluth's Spirit Mountain ski hills and the Bayfront skating rink. The Bentleyville Tour of Lights display at Bayfront is also closed because of the weather on Sunday evening.

Bentleyville will reopen Monday evening if conditions improve. Spirit Mountain is scheduled to resume operations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

In the meantime, it's just too cold to have fun outdoors.

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