The blast of cold may release its grip on us today, but not before leaving us with reminders of its visit—like hundreds of frozen pipes—pipes that will, unfortunately, begin to thaw. Fire officials who ran many calls to fire alarms caused by frozen pipes said yesterday that it was unusual for the calls to come before the thaw—that usually it is the leak we discover in the thaw that causes us to recognize the damage.  But yesterday was an exception, with damage reported from many businesses, homes, and even Watauga Medical Center, where water damage caused what they called “some water issues from frozen pipes.” A release from the hospital late yesterday said that, “As of Tuesday, January 7, 2014, 5 pm, the hospital is operational,” but went on to say, The surgical suite area has been affected, therefore elective surgeries and procedures scheduled for Wednesday January 8th are being re-scheduled. Patients are being notified about the status of their surgery or procedure.” The hospital said their Emergency Department and Patient Care areas are fully operational. Of the number of businesses hit by water woes, the Rite Aid Pharmacy at Shops of Shadowline was flooded by a broken sprinkler line, frozen early Tuesday.  Boone Fire pushed several inches of water out of the structure which had to be closed.  Boone Utility crews, Boone Fire, and ultimately Boone Police responded to a rather spectacular water line failure at the Baymont Inn on NC 105 where a line rupture feeding the sprinkler system erupted in a gusher that spewed water over the top of the building, filling the parking lot with inches of ice, even freezing some vehicles to the pavement.