Blankets of ice could be seen on the rolling hills along Highway 280 in San Mateo County Thursday morning. And you could almost get out your ice skates in Livermore, where frozen sidewalks were found in a residential neighborhood.
Talk about the big chill in San Francisco. Some swimmers were brave enough to take a dip in the frigid waters of the bay. They're hardy souls -- most of them don't wear wetsuits. And they certainly don't mind the frigid bay water.
"It looks cold," Dolphin Club swimmer Holly Reed said. "I know the water isn't any colder than it was yesterday, but oh my god!"
Thursday morning's temperature in San Francisco was 41 degrees. By comparison, the bay water was a toasty 52.
Some of the coldest temperatures could be found in Santa Cruz County's Scotts Valley, where residents woke up to a frozen landscape. Lawns, bushes, even their roofs were iced over. Temperatures dipped to just 17 degrees.
"I'm from Colorado, so that kind of cold doesn't really faze me," Scotts Valley resident Gannon Kashiwa said. "It was six degrees in Denver this morning. But 17 and frost on top of my car, that's unusual."
Coffee was more popular than usual Thursday morning, as people tried to stay warm in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
"Every single person that has come in this morning has said, 'it's freezing out there,'" said Brittney Smith with Peet's Coffee & Tea.
For some the cold is an inconvenience. For others, it can be life-threatening.
"It can be very difficult for a lot of our clients," Ellen Gill said.
Gill is a social worker for at-risk seniors in Contra Costa County; some of whom can't afford or don't have heat.
"There's cases where people are, you know, finding other ways to heat the home that might not even be safe," she said.
On the ground at Mineta San Jose International Airport, planes needed to be de-iced before they could take off Thursday morning.
No delays were reported. Passengers we spoke with were glad it was being taken care of.
"I know enough about it to be scared of it," airline passenger Diane Mcall said. "So yeah, that they're on it and doing it properly and recognizing it as an issue is very consoling to me.
In Walnut Creek, where temperatures were in the 20s, police warned motorists to look out for a large patch of black ice at a busy intersection near Interstate Highway 680. The black ice was at the intersection of Ygnacio Valley Road and Oakland Boulevard, next to the Walnut Creek BART station.
Motorists are advised to drive carefully.
For those taking public transportation, some commuters told us that just getting to the BART station Thursday morning was tough in the bitter cold.
"I live about four blocks away," commuter BART Taylor said. "It's a miserable walk here, especially lately. But, you know, we need some rain. I want it to snow. It would be nice if we got some precipitation. Other than that, it's all good."
Cold snap causes pipes to burst at North Bay homes
The cold weather made life difficult for some Marin County residents after they woke up to some unpleasant surprises.
"At seven o'clock, I heard an explosion on our roof," Betsy Green said.
Three pipes burst on Green's roof in Lucas Valley early Thursday morning.
It's a familiar story for Kyle Barnhard of Mike Testa Plumbing where, this time of year, they can practically predict the overtime based on the temperature.
"Overnight it got really cold, freezing temperatures," Barnhard said. "And when the water freezes it starts to expand. And in spots that aren't insulated, like this one, the pipes just burst apart."
Simple physics, actually. It was a scene repeated countless times across the North Bay. And, as we learned, it's possible to avoid such problems with one simple precaution.
"If they have insulation like this where it's corroded or wearing away, you can leave fixtures running in your house, say a shower head dripping a little bit or a faucet," Barnhard said. "Because moving water, it is a lot harder for it to freeze."
Chilly Bay Area weather breaks records
* At 26 degrees, Gilroy broke an old record of 27 degrees set in 1972.
* At 26 degrees, Kentfield broke an old record of 28 degrees set in 1972.
* At 32 degrees, Mountain View broke an old record of 33 set in 1998.
* At 25 degrees, Napa broke an old record of 26 degrees set in 1972.
* At 34 degrees, downtown Oakland broke an old record of 35 set in 1972.
* At 30 degrees, Oakland Airport broke an old record of 35 set in 1972.
* At 40 degrees, San Francisco tied an old record set in 1972.
* At 29 degrees, San Jose tied an old record set in 1972.
* At 30 degrees, San Rafael broke an old record of 31 degrees set in 1972.
* At 28 degrees, Santa Cruz broke an old record of 29 set in 1972.
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(ABC7 News reporters Matt Keller, Laura Anthony, and Wayne Freedman contributed to this report)