Metro in Frigid Grip

Frigid weather gripped the metro on Monday closing schools, slowing business operations and locking the Omaha area in the coldest arctic grip of the season.

The Salvation Army Kroc Center opened its warming center at 5 a.m. providing shelter for those who needed to escape the cold. It was scheduled to remain open through 9 p.m.

Ice draped the La Vista Falls golf course as Kathy Carnahan drove by with her list of backed-up errands that she was trying to cope with in the brutal cold.

She said, “I had to go to the UPS store, then I had to get my license plates renewed, now gas, then the grocery store; too much in one day."

On the bright side, she wasn’t fighting big crowds in the stores. But getting heat in her vehicle was a challenge.

"My car doesn't even heat up by the time I get to the next place," she said.

The weather put a damper on business for Jerry Mann, owner of The Coffee Shop in Papillion.

"Luckily the truck started, so I got here,” he said. “Other than that, it is kind of slow. I think it's so cold. Nobody wants to bother to stop."

Then there was the havoc the sub-zero conditions played on underground piping. There were a half dozen broken mains by lunchtime including one at 147th and Karen, another at 48th and Bedford and back in La Vista, water poured into the street in the strip mall of the old Hobby Lobby. Inside the building, there was damage to the drywall and ceiling.

La Vista Fire Chief Rich Uhl said, “Just got a frozen sprinkler pipe inside the building that burst. It is filling with water. Put a lot of water on the floor of the building."

Jerry Mann told us, “This keeps up, we might make a proposition to make the penguin our state bird. This is cold."

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