Outdoor workers bundle against arctic blast

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The bright sunshine was a welcome sight on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the stubborn cold did not give way to much of a warm-up.

Seagulls hunkered down against the bitter wind at the Gulfport Harbor. As the shore birds shivered, icy cold water shot into the air, warning city workers the water pipes were in danger of freezing-up.

"It's a check valve for the piers. For water," said city employee Jose Briones, "And what it is, it did what it was supposed to do. Blew the valve, the check valve, to keep the pipes from bursting."

Some city crews normally assigned outdoor duty, are inside during this winter blast

"We're keeping our guys busy, doing other stuff besides out in the weather like this, until it warms up," said Briones.

We saw one worker in shorts, despite the 30 degree temperature. Briones said the man was his boss.

"He wears shorts all winter. We call him 'the polar bear.'"

No shorts for J.J. Sobaszek and Steve Smith. They were busy changing out the street pole banners in downtown Long Beach. It was plenty cold for the outdoor duty.

"I don't know how cold, I'm guess-timating about 28," said Sobaszek.

He said the chill wasn't too bad though.

"I got two jackets on," he explained.

Ice covered plants lined the entrance of USM Gulf Coast. By late morning, the ice showed little sign of melting.

At 11:30 Tuesday morning, the temperature sign outside Dr. James Randolph's animal hospital read 32 degrees. A worker inside the vet's office said it showed 17 when she reported for work early Tuesday. The veterinarian reminds folks to make sure their pets are protected.

"Any pet needs to come in around 40 degrees or at least have a heat source in the bed if it has an outdoor dog house," said Dr. Randolph.

Not all things mind the arctic blast. A Christmas lights display in a Long Beach subdivision featured a troop of smiling snowmen on one side of the street, across from a family of happy penguins.

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