ST. LOUIS (AP/KMOX) – Bitter cold weather is causing water main breaks throughout the St. Louis region.

Missouri American Water reports that more than 40 breaks have been reported in St. Louis County, alone, since frigid weather descended on the area more than a week ago. One neighborhood in the Fenton area was covered in ice after a break.

Missouri American Water says crews are working double shifts to respond to the breaks caused by the combination of extreme cold weather and aging infrastructure. The utility is urging patience.

“The good news is that today, since we’re past the holiday season, we’re going to be fully staffed and we’ll be able to really get out and attack these things finally,” Brian Russell, spokesman for Missouri American Water, tells KMOX.

Russell says that unfortunately, the county has old infrastructure and hasn’t made the necessary upgrades over the past half century or more — that means a lot of water mains have exceeded their life expectancy.

In this bitter cold, when river water shoots through and is warmer than the pipes, it causes constriction, fracturing, and then pipes burst.

The forecast doesn’t offer much relief. The cold weather is expected to continue throughout this week. Temperatures may not reach the freezing mark until Sunday.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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