Road experts say warm weather doesn’t mean frost is gone

With many across the Copper Country still running their water, officials are reminding residents that great weather doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to shut off the tap.

One of the problems with freezing pipes is that they’re far too far deep in the ground to assess the frost level. The Houghton County Road Commission gets to the root of the problem via MDOT measuring sites.

“The frost in the ground is down there deep,” Houghton County Road Commission superintendent Ray Saatio said. “Basically, your water lines are probably six feet or somewhere shallower and when you got frost, it’s frozen solid.”

Saatio says any brief warm-ups in the weather shouldn’t deceive you.

“You really don’t know how deep it is so that frost that’s still in the ground and you shut your water off, without water running through, it will freeze and it won’t take long,” he said.

Cities and villages get most of their information on frost depth from their county road commission, and they use that data to determine if they should advise their residents to shut off their water.