The bone-chilling cold that has gripped the state set records in 16 Utah locations Friday, where high temperatures were the lowest they have ever been on Dec. 21.
Salt Lake City's high of 11 degrees eclipsed the previous coldest Dec. 21 high of 21 degrees, recorded in 1968.At the Ogden City Mall, it was 8 below outside when a water valve burst, flooding a Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc. office and between 10 and 15 stores with ankle-deep water, said mall general manager Kae Barber.
Crews got the water turned off in about 10 minutes and spent the day mopping up enough to allow the stores to re-open for business.
Water crews in Salt Lake City spent a busy day answering calls of broken pipes. In the vacant former J.C. Penney building at 1177 Simpson Ave., pipes burst sending water out into the street which briefly threatened businesses downhill. Next door at Osco Drug, water dripped into the offices and back room all evening while crews tried to shut off the supply lines.
The chill will let up a bit by Christmas, a National Weather forecaster said - but don't expect too much.
A warming trend will bump temperatures upward, and "maybe by Christmas Day they could be up to 10 degrees below normal," said forecaster Alex Smith. For Salt Lake, that means highs in the 20s with lows near zero.
The weather service urged people to keep household pets indoors and said running a trickle of water could keep pipes from freezing. John Madsen of Salt Lake City Public Utilities said that most of the calls to the water department were on private property and could have been prevented by letting the water trickle.
"It will cost a lot more if they have a break," Madsen said.