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As winter finally arrives, utility warns of water main breaks to come

Yes, the winter’s first cold snap has arrived, meaning water main breaks are sure to follow, Maryland’s largest water utility warned Wednesday, as Washington-area residents awoke to frost-covered lawns.

And even though 2015 ended with a record-breaking balmy December, the year still racked up 1,918 water main breaks in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, said the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). That marked the second-highest number of breaks in five years, with 2010 holding the utility’s record at 2,125 breaks, WSSC said.

Utility officials blame most breaks on pipes’ old age — some have reached the century mark — and fluctuating temperatures, particularly cold snaps.