The fountain at Holy Cross Catholic Church on Byrd Avenue resembled an ice sculpture Monday after frigid temperatures moved into the area. It remained frozen on Tuesday.
The fountain at Holy Cross Catholic Church on Byrd Avenue resembled an ice sculpture Monday after frigid temperatures moved into the area. It remained frozen on Tuesday.
While temperatures dipped to a record low of 9 degrees Tuesday morning in Philadelphia, power and water officials reported minimal problems.

Joe Vines, owner of WHOC, an official weather recording agency for the National Weather Service, said the 9 degree temperature on Jan. 7 was the lowest for the date since 1924.

The coldest day in January on record in Philadelphia was Jan. 27, 1940, when temperatures dipped to negative 5 degrees and snowing, he said.

The first 10 days in January 2010 were among the coldest in recent years with temperatures dipping to 12 degrees, Vines said.

A whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a "polar vortex" descended Monday into much of the U.S., pummeling parts of the country with a dangerous cold that could break decades-old records with wind chill warnings stretching from Montana to Alabama.

Central Electric Power Association, which serves Neshoba and parts of six other counties in Mississippi, experienced only five small line outages as of Tuesday morning. Less than 10 individual transformers tripped due to extra loading during the extreme weather, Aaron Akers, director of economic development for Central Electric, said.

John Burt, manager of Philadelphia Utilities, reported minimal problems as of Tuesday morning.

"So far we have done well," Burt said. "We think tomorrow [Wednesday] is going to be a busy day. As the weather warms up, pipes that are frozen are going to start thawing out and leaking and people will call us to come and cut their water off."

PU hasn't experienced any weather-related problems with its electrical service.

"We had a little power problem this morning [Tuesday] on south Holland at a motel. A switch burned up about 4 or 4:30 a.m. It was not weather related," Burt said.

Glenn Goldman, manager of Central Water Association, said a single line at one of his plants froze Monday night, though no customers were affected.

His office fielded several calls from individual customers reporting frozen water lines at their homes.

He urged customers to take precautions by keeping their inside faucets dripping a steady stream when temperatures fall below freezing.

He also urged customers to insulate meter boxes with such things as old blankets or towels.

The Tennessee Valley Authority expects plunging temperatures from the arctic cold wave moving across the region this week to produce a high demand for electricity.

With regional temperatures forecast to be among the coldest in 20 years, TVA electricity demand was expected to exceed 31,000 megawatts on Monday evening and reach nearly 32,000 megawatts on Tuesday evening.

TVA's all-time record winter demand was set on Jan. 16, 2009, at 32,572 megawatts when temperatures across the Tennessee Valley averaged 9 degrees.

The all-time record demand on the TVA power system was 33,482 megawatts on Aug. 16, 2007, when temperatures averaged 102 degrees.

For a big chunk of the midwest, the subzero temperatures were moving in behind another winter wallop: more than a foot of snow and high winds that made traveling treacherous. Officials closed schools in cities including Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee and warned residents to stay indoors and avoid the frigid cold altogether.

The forecast was extreme: 32 below zero in Fargo, N.D.; minus 21 in Madison, Wis.; and 15 below zero in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Chicago. Wind chills - what it feels like outside when high winds are factored into the temperature - could drop into the minus 50s and 60s.

"It's just a dangerous cold," said National Weather Service meteorologist Butch Dye in Missouri.

It hasn't been this cold for almost two decades in many parts of the country. Frostbite and hypothermia can set in quickly at 15 to 30 below zero.

- The Associated Press contributed to this story