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Contractors brave cold weather; Victoria to warm up

By Jessica Priest
Feb. 26, 2014 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 26, 2014 at 8:27 p.m.

Aaron Pedraza, left, and Jerry Valenzuela work with Falcon Lease Operating Co. taking measurements on Dairy Road at Huvar Street on Wednesday. The crew braved the day's cold temperatures to work to ensure that when the road is eventually widened, no one will accidentally break a water main.

Three Falcon Lease Operating Co. contractors were stretching a 100-foot tape measure between light poles on Dairy Road in dreary conditions Wednesday.

The men, bundled in several layers of clothing, were just some of a few who were forced to brave the cold weather to get a job done.

"At first, it felt miserable, but after a while, it's just another day," Aaron Pedraza, 22, said while sketching a diagram.

A polar cold front swept into Victoria about midnight Wednesday, sprinkling Victoria in .21 of an inch of rain as of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Alina Nieves, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The average amount of rainfall for Victoria from January to February is 4.43 inches of rain, but since Jan. 1, Victoria has received 1.66 inches.

"Victoria is currently in a severe drought," she said.

Dairy Road is being widened, the men explained, and their employer, which specializes in outdoor plumbing, was tasked with ensuring that when the road gets repaved, workers don't hit an underground water valve.

Jerry Valenzuela, 46, pointed to the asphalt they've broken up and a nearby water hydrant.

"That's 250 pounds of pressure," he said.

"There would definitely be some water works (if it were hit)," Pedraza said.

While the men prefer to work in warmer conditions, none wanted the boss to tell them to pack it in for the day.

"The rent won't pay itself," Valenzuela said.

"Yeah, and rent keeps going up. ... We need these days," Pedraza, who is a father, added.

They still need to stay hydrated working in the cold, and everybody watches out for each other, he said.

"The job has got to get done, so we don't need anybody falling down on us," Pedraza said.

Valenzuela chuckled when talking about how in cold weather, his nose runs.

"You start looking like Sid the Sloth," he said of the "Ice Age" character.

Victoria will dry out in the next few days. Thursday's high is expected to reach 56 degrees, and it will climb into the lower 70s by the weekend, Nieves said.

"We're expecting some rain again by the end of Sunday, though. We have a 30 percent chance of showers," along with another polar cold front Monday, Nieves said.



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