Freezing temperatures take toll on sprinkler systems, pipes across Houston

HOUSTON - Two nights of below freezing temperatures have taken a toll on sprinkler systems across Houston and many homeowners may not even realize their system has been damaged.

Mike Hartkopf said he returned home from running an errand Tuesday morning and found water spewing from his irrigation system and into the road. Hartkopf said he left frigid temperatures in Wisconsin Monday and there was little time to prepare for Houston's freeze.

"I lived there for most of my life and never had pipes freeze. I come here, it's 20 degrees one night and the sprinkler system freezes," said Hartkopf.

Chuck Massey with Big Chuck's Lawn Sprinkler Systems said he had more than a dozen calls Tuesday and expected even more Wednesday, as timers go off and people realize their sprinklers are broken.

"We're in Katy, which is cold. But The Woodlands, Conroe, where it was three degrees colder, they're going to have more problems," said Massey.

The January freeze also caused ice to form on some of Houston's roadways, leading to several accidents. One at Highway 290 and North Gessner involved four vehicles.

Five of HISD's campuses experienced heating issues Tuesday, including Woodson Leadership Academy.

"It was so cold so I just zipped up my coat," said student Emmanuel Nichols.

Other students at Clear Creek ISD's Goforth Elementary had their classes canceled because of a heater failure. A spokesperson said the heater has since been fixed and students will return to school Wednesday.

In Mission Bend, CenterPoint Energy crews braved the cold in order to restore electricity to more than 4,000 customers who lost power in a weather-related outage.

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