It was a record-breaking day in Cedar Rapids on Monday. But the record that was broken probably isn’t the one you’re guessing.
The record for coldest temperature for January 6 – minus-21, set on Jan. 6, 1910 – remains safe, with temperatures only dipping down to minus-17 on Monday. But, the record for coldest HIGH temperature for January 6 did fall, according to KCRG meteorologist Kaj O’Mara.
“The midnight high temperature was minus-12 and we’re also minus-12 right now,” O’Mara said at noon on Monday. “It’s a record cold high temperature.”
The record breaking temperatures led to an uptick in calls for the Cedar Rapids Fire Department, beginning Sunday evening and continuing into Monday. Fire department spokesman Greg Buelow said the fire department responded to two house fires overnight and one dryer fire Monday morning. Colder temperatures often lead to more calls for service, Buelow said.
“There’s a direct correlation,” he said.
Home heating equipment is especially taxed on days like what much of the country experienced Monday. A minor carbon monoxide leak will become more noticeable because the lack of regular ventilation provided by people going in and out of the homes. Misuse of space heaters can lead to accidental fires, as well.
“The cold definitively complicates a lot of issues,” Buelow said.
The extreme cold also creates issues for the firefighters themselves. At one of the overnight house fires, Buelow said crews had to deal with “pretty brutal conditions” that lead to a frozen attack hose line and masks, malfunctioning breathing apparatus, steam and the risk of falls in the slick conditions.
Buelow said citizens can help the cause by remembering fire safety tips like not leaving cooking unattended and keeping a 3 foot buffer around space heaters, which should be turned off when the room is exited. Residents should not try to clear up frozen pipes on their own, Buelow said.
“Hopefully we get through this,” he said.
Arriving and departing flights at The Eastern Iowa Airport were affected by the weather.
Flights to and from Chicago on American Airlines and United Airlines have been cancelled as the Windy City deals with snow and extreme cold temperatures. Flights also were cancelled by United Airlines from Denver to Cedar Rapids.
Allegiant Air flights to and from Cedar Rapids to Orlando-Sanford and Phoenix-Mesa are not affected by the weather. American and Delta flights to Atlanta and Dallas-Fort Worth also have not been interrupted.
The good news is we have more or less bottomed out in terms of low temperatures, O’Mara said. The forecasted highs for the next few days are 4 on Tuesday, 14 on Wednesday and 23 on Thursday.“Nowhere to go but up,” O’Mara said.