The polar vortex that had much of the country in its icy grips has since moved on but its not soon to be forgotten as the extreme cold has caused many problems for businesses and schools. There were thousands and thousands of people all over the country who were without water due to frozen pipes. Even though weather forecasters warned of a big winter storm with very cold temps, many people simply did not prepare for it and failed to take the necessary precautions to prevent their pipes from freezing.
As utility crews worked around the clock to restore power, many others were struggling to thaw out frozen pipes and deal with pipes that broke. Plumbing services were completely overwhelmed from taking calls from people who were pleading to have their water pipes fixed so they could open businesses and schools. Even though it can really help to leave water dripping from faucets when it’s cold outside, when temperatures drop very low, this just may not be enough to save pipes from freezing.
Scores of commercial businesses, restaurants, churches, office buildings and schools across the country were still dealing with cold weather-related problems days after the polar vortex moved out of the US. Rental firms reported doing very brisk business in the days following the bitter cold as many people were renting carpet cleaning machines and wet vacs so they could deal with water inside their businesses due to burst pipes that caused flooding.
The polar vortex which affected about 200 million American has cost the US economy an estimated $5 billion dollars which was the biggest economic disruption brought on by weather since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The early cold winter also has caused a shortage of propane in the Midwest which is affecting many businesses. Many people are now finding that they have to call several companies to find propane to fill their tanks due to the shortage that actually started in the fall. The shortage is due to the fact that all propane companies are rationed meaning they only get a certain number of loads and companies all across the Midwest are now in short supply.
Frigid temperatures wreaked havoc on school bus batteries and school heating systems all across the Midwest. Thousands of schools were closed due to the cold including all public schools in the state of Minnesota. Many universities also reported cold weather damage when sprinkler pipes burst, causing flooding, the cancellation of classes and in some cases the relocation of dormitory residents.