WARRENSBURG - The evening of Jan. 23, frigid Arctic air gripped the region, and area residents were dealing with an element of North Country life they hadn't fully experienced for years.
Glens Falls recorded record-cold temperatures of minus 30 degrees - the lowest since 1945, meteorologists said - and elsewhere across northern Warren County, the mercury in thermometers fell out of sight.
No need to tell Logan Tyler of Stony Creek about it.
He started out the early morning in his home's crawlspace thawing out frozen pipes as his thermometer read 27 degrees below zero. Neighbors in Thurman claimed it was as frigid as 40 below.
After arriving at his job at Viele Automotive in Warrensburg, Tyler dispatched the firm's employees for about a dozen calls for jump-starts due to car batteries that couldn't turn over engines mired in molasses-like oil. Others with "emotional and memorable" that his thoughts weren't about him or the nation's future right then, but of his family. diesel-powered vehicles had the fuel gel up in fuel filters and fuel lines.
Then checking in with AAA Northway, Tyler discovered the agency's phone lines were jammed for hours by callers - AAA told him they were backed up with as many as 300 calls for service, he said.
Like other vehicle service enterprises, Barron Dingman of Warrensburg Car Care also reported his employees were responding to jump-starts and vehicles with gummed-up diesel fuel.
Lake George Mayor Robert Blais in Lake George said the village Public Works department received a substantial number of calls complaining of no water - but most of the complaints were due to frozen water lines within their own homes.
There were, however a few breaks in the village water lines due to shifting frost in pipes that had recently been dug up in road reconstruction projects, said the mayor who's been in office for 40 years, a record across New York State.
"I don't remember seeing it this cold," Blais said. "The change in temperature has been so drastic."
Pyrofax Energy service employees Jim Nash of Warrensburg and Frank Morehouse of Chestertown also dealt with the aftermath of the frigid air.
Several of the company service vehicles wouldn't start, but they got their own trucks moving so they could thaw out customers' frozen regulators on LP gas tanks, repair overworked furnaces that quit, and thaw out a baseboard heating system in which the recirculating fluid was frozen solid despite anti-freeze.
"We've really been busy this morning," Nash said.
Linda Walters in the Pyrofax office in Chestertown echoed the point.
She said some customers - wary of high prevailing heating fuel prices -had let their outdoor fuel tanks get too low, and condensation in the tanks froze up, blocking the flow of fuel.
"The cold temperatures are severe," she warned, noting that Pyrofax employees were responding to many calls in which homeowners had procrastinated on furnace tune-ups, and their furnaces quit Sunday night under the additional stress.
Devin Scherer of Hometown Oil also said his service employees were helping customers with sluggish fuel in outdoor tanks, repairing furnaces that had quit outright, and refilling empty fuel tanks.
One of the furnaces quitting under stress was a boiler at the town of Chester Municipal Center, town supervisor Fred Monroe reported. When he arrived at work Monday, the temperatures in the building had dropped as low as 50 degrees fahrenheit.
Carol LaGrasse of Stony Creek said her house got about that cold Sunday night. Her home has no fuel tanks and no connections to electric lines, because she and her husband Peter live "off the grid."
Their home stays warm primarily through solar gain, or the sun's energy warming their home. When temperatures drop into the teens, they may have to fire up their woodstove intermittently she said, but when it's below zero, they need to keep the blaze going to keep it comfortable.
LaGrasse said she was exhausted Sunday night, so she didn't bother to get up occasionally during the night and throw chunks of wood on the fire - so the temperature in their house fell to 53 degrees or so by morning when outside it was 25 or 30 below zero.
"I was tired and I decided not to feed the fire," she said.