HED: Northeast Miss. prepares for winter weather
By Eileen Bailey
Snow is predicted to blanket much of Northeast Mississippi today but expected to taper off later in the day.
Law enforcement officials and other Northeast Mississippi residents began preparing for the snow Sunday.
Officials with the three Mississippi Highway Patrol districts in Northeast Mississippi – Batesville, New Albany and Starkville – had troopers on call.
Marlene Mickelson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Memphis, said a heavy snow warning was issued for much of Northeast Mississippi for today. A heavy snow warning means severe winter conditions, such as snow, are eminent.
The National Weather Service is calling for an 80 percent chance of snow caused by a low pressure system that moved into the area from the northwest. This low pressure system was predicted to collide with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and expected to cause winter weather conditions, she said.
Mickelson said 3 to 6 inches of snow accumulation was expected for Northeast Mississippi today. “Snowfall is expected to taper off by tonight,” she said.
The lows were expected to hover around the freezing mark this morning with highs only reaching into the upper 30s, she said. Because of the below-freezing temperatures the snow could stay on the ground for a while, she said.
Lows were expected to dip into the 20s Tuesday with highs rebounding into the upper 40s and lower 50s. Winds are predicted to be out of the north at 10 to 15 mph. High temperatures through Thursday are expected be in the 50s, she said.
Maintenance supervisor Johnny Hunt and two other employees with the Mississippi Department of Transportation for Lee County worked Sunday afternoon preparing for the snow.
Hunt said they put slag in the trucks and put spreader boxes on vehicles. “We are making sure all of our equipment is ready,” Hunt said.
In Lee County, Hunt said there were seven other employees on call to help clear roadways if needed. Hunt warned motorists to beware of bridges and hilly areas on the highways and roadways during snow storms.
Bridges are the first to ice over because of the cold air passing underneath, Hunt said. If roads begin to freeze, he said, crews will begin to place down slag.
He said major highways, such as U.S. Highways 78 and 45, would be given first priority because of the large traffic volume.
Residents were urged to drive with caution and drive only if needed during winter storm conditions, he said.
For drivers who venture out in winter weather the Department of Public Safety offers the following tips:
– Keep entire windshield cleaned off. Also run defroster a few minutes before starting out.
– Keep speed down and remember that intersections might be extra slick because of the polishing effect of stopping and starting traffic. Slow down gradually. Hard, sudden braking can lock the car’s brakes and send the car into a skid.
Area grocery stores reported increases in the purchase of staples by customers. Tiffany Rutherford, office clerk for Food World in Tupelo, said supplies of bread, eggs, milk and canned goods were being purchased by customers. “Now, we have a normal crowd but I expect that later tonight more people will run in at the last minute,” she said Sunday afternoon.
Andy Tyra, an employee of Mantachie Foods in Mantachie, said customers had purchased the remaining supplies of essentials, such as bread, milk and eggs, on Sunday. “We are out,” he said. Customers, he said, have been talking about the predicted weather.
According to information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, residents should have plenty of supplies on hand. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Keeping the body replenished with fluids helps prevent dehydration.
Residents also should wear layers of loose-fitting, light-weight clothing, allowing them to remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration and subsequent chill.