Basements flooded after water main break

MASON CITY, Iowa - Yet another neighborhood has fallen victim to frozen pipes and broken water main lines.

Early Sunday morning a water main pipe broke, and witnesses say water was shooting out of the ground like a geyser.

With nearly two feet of water in his mother’s basement, Fred Rose headed to the sloppy scene to help clean up the aftermath of the break.

Water main breaks are a common wintertime frustration however, this year has been different than others.

“The street fellows, I was talking to them earlier and they said its 6 feet down, the frost, so that’s unheard of,” Rose said.

Mason City officials say that they’ve had to report to one or more water main breaks every day over the past two weeks.

Frost lines in the past couple of years have been measured at two to three feet below the ground surface, but thanks to the harsh winter conditions we’ve seen this year, the frost line measurements are shocking even Mark Rahm, a Mason City Engineer.

“Frost will continue to go deeper until there’s an there is enough weather to thaw,” Rahm said, “that will basically catch up, and meet some point of equilibrium from where the frost will stop going, but that’s going to take a long time.”

While things are expected to warm up, Rose is doubtful that this small spike in temperatures will make all that big of a difference.

“Right now they’re talking a warm-up, and it’s going to get worse, because the warm south winds will drive the frost deeper into the ground, so who knows what’ll happen from here.”

Mason City’s engineer says to make sure to run cold water from the tap nearest the water line going into a home and test your water’s temperatures every so often.

Keeping a stream of water running that is the width of a pencil will help water to circulate throughout the home and will hopefully prevent pipes from freezing over.

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