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Freezing temperatures lock some Cape residents out of homes

January 22, 2019 GMT

HYANNIS, Mass. (AP) — Frigid temperatures persisted into the early evening Monday, icing up roads and in some cases freezing people out of their own homes, including a woman who was taken to the hospital with hypothermia.

The high temperature in Hyannis on Monday barely broke into the double digits at 11, with scattered snow showers continuing into the evening. Wind chill values were as low as -10, with northwest winds of around 18 mph and gusts up to 37 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters projected a range of 2 to 3 inches of snow across the Outer Cape, with less expected from Hyannis westward.


The icy conditions caused a number of problems with the locks on homes and cars, according to police and fire officials across the Cape.

Yarmouth police and fire officials responded to a call early Monday morning about a woman who was locked outside her home in the freezing temperatures, according to Yarmouth police dispatcher Paul Leidenfrost. A person asleep in the home didn’t hear the woman who was locked outside, he said.

The woman was taken to the hospital with symptoms of hypothermia, he said.

An Eastham fire official said authorities responded to emergency calls from residents who were having difficulty with locks after Sunday’s winter storm brought rain to the Cape that then froze as temperatures plummeted overnight.

Residents should lubricate their door handles to prevent freezing, said Sandwich Fire Chief John Burke. For seemingly obvious safety reasons, people should not use torches to defrost cars or car doors, he said.

James Arnold, who has owned Arnold Sandwich Lock Smith for 32 years, said when he gets calls about frozen locks he often advises callers to head to their local hardware store for lubricants such as Tri-Flow.

“When it freezes and you can’t put the key in, people panic,” he said.

Arnold also recommends WD-40, a penetrating oil and water-displacing spray, which can be squirted into the keyhole.

There were fewer problems than some expected.

As of 2:30 p.m. Monday, a Provincetown official said public safety personnel had responded to two calls of frozen locks.

“I thought I’d be busier,” said Arnold, who had only received one call about a frozen lock.

There weren’t as many calls to the fire department about frozen doors in Sandwich as he expected either, Burke said.

“A lot of people are smart. They’re leaving their doors unlocked,” he said. “It makes it easier to get inside.”


But there are plenty of other dangers during chilly weather.

Burke cautioned against leaving garage doors closed while preheating a vehicle to avoid breathing in dangerous carbon monoxide fumes, and suggested bringing a cellphone when going outside to fetch the mail or newspaper in case of a fall on an icy road or driveway.

The cold weather is expected to dissipate as the week progresses, according to weather forecasts. Tuesday is expected to be sunny, with temperatures as high as 28 and a low of 15 at night. By Thursday, temperatures will reach a high of 51 with expected rain and wind.


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Information from: Cape Cod (Mass.) Times, http://www.capecodtimes.com