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Coldest air since at least 1996 to raise risk of frozen pipes, water main bursts in southern US

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Temperatures will plunge to dangerously low and damaging levels this weekend into early next week in the wake of the snowstorm over the southern United States.

Those without power in the wake of the winter storm could face additional hardship due to the severe cold. The extremely low temperatures will increase the risk of frozen pipes.

Static Sat Night Bitter Cold

The cold air will surpass levels from January of 2014 and 2015 in the region. Record lows for the date will be set in many areas. In some cases, temperatures will drop to their lowest levels in decades.

"The lowest temperatures will occur when there is fresh snowcover, little to no wind and the sky remains clear," according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

Temperatures will dip into the single digits in much of central and northwestern North Carolina and southern Virginia during Saturday night and Sunday night. In some of the outlying areas, temperatures will hover near zero F at the start of Sunday and/or Monday.

"The last time the temperature dipped to zero at Raleigh, North Carolina, was on Feb. 5, 1996," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Bill Deger. "Farther to the west in Charlotte, North Carolina, the last time a zero-degree reading occurred was on Jan. 21, 1985."

Static Rec Lows Sunday Night

At this level, not only can the cold air be painful, but hypothermia can also occur in people who are not properly dressed. Frostbite can occur on exposed skin if outdoors for an extended duration. People should wear multiple layers of clothes, including a hat and gloves.

Even in portions of northern Georgia and South Carolina, the cold will rival that of the past couple of years during Saturday and Sunday night.

Pipes that are above ground or in unheated or poorly insulated areas of homes and businesses are at greatest risk to freeze and burst. Leaving the water drip and keeping cabinets open might be enough to prevent costly damage and repairs.

In some cases, where the ground freezes and heaves, water mains could burst.

While the frigid air will linger through Monday, temperatures during Monday night will not be as extreme as the weekend levels.

Temperatures are projected to moderate on Tuesday then rebound to above-average levels on Wednesday. Highs on Wednesday will generally be in the 50s to low 60s.