Ice blamed in 3 Miss. crash deaths; thaw forecast

By NEMS Daily Journal/The Associated Press

JACKSON — An icy winter storm left some areas of Mississippi coated in ice overnight, but conditions are expected to improve as temperatures pushed above freezing.

Ed Agre, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said freezing rain and sleet that had coated bridges would change to rain in most areas by midmorning Friday. Northeast Mississippi was expected to see change over to rain around 9 a.m.

Agre said there were reports of 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch of ice from around Brookhaven to Meridian.

A winter storm warning remains in affect for many areas until 9 a.m.

Dozens of schools were closed Friday. Some local government offices are also closed.

The weather made for hazardous driving conditions late Thursday and early Friday. At least two deaths have been blamed on the weather.

Updates
8:55 a.m. – Another fatality reported in South Mississippi …

MHP patrol reports 75-year-old Konstadinos Dilioglou of Jackson died in an accident near a bridge on Interstate 55 south of Hazlehurst at 9:15 p.m.
Thursday.

8:51 a.m. – Update from NEMS Daily Journal’s Danza Johnson on road situation …

Highway patrolmen had a busy morning starting at about 6 a.m. dealing with several automobile accidents due to iced over brides.

Trooper Ray Hall said most of the accidents happened in Alcorn County on U.S. 72 and in Hickory Flat on U.S. 78.

Troopers responded to at least 10 accidents on the bridge in Hickory Flat on 78.

Hall said a portion of U.S. 72 in Alcorn County had to be shut down after a seven car accident happened on a bridge.

No serious injuries have been reported.

8:15 a.m. – Bus wreck reported on Tippah River Bridge in Potts Camp. More as it is available.

7:40 a.m.: MHP says east bound lanes of Highway 72 at Central School Road have reopened after earlier problems.

7:26 a.m. – From The Associated Press …

Winter weather blamed for at least 2 Miss. deaths

JACKSON — The Mississippi Highway Patrol says the winter weather is blamed for at least two fatalities.

Sgt. Rusty Boyd says 28-year-old Laurie Nicole Sanders of Hazlehurst died Thursday afternoon when her vehicle struck a patch of ice, ran off Interstate 55 into the median and struck some trees south of Hazlehurst. Boyd said Sanders was not wearing a seat belt.

The second fatal accident took place in Prentiss. Troopers say the driver of an SUV traveling westbound on U.S. 84 lost control and slammed into an oncoming 18-wheeler log truck.

Jefferson Davis County Coroner Greg Blackwell said the vehicle was on the Mississippi Highway 13 overpass and the bridge was covered with ice.

The woman, whose name was not released, was pronounced dead at the scene.

7:20 a.m. – From The Associated Press …

Poor driving conditions in many parts of Miss.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Transportation says snow and ice are causing poor driving conditions in nearly four dozen counties.

M-DOT says driving conditions are dangerous Friday in the following counties: Attala, Bolivar, Clay, Claiborne, Coahoma, Copiah, Covington, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Itawamba, Jefferson Davis, Kemper, Lafayette, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Leake, Lee, Leflore, Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Newton, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Panola, Pike, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, Smith, Tallahatchie, Tippah, Tunica, Union, Walthall, Washington, Winston, Yalobusha and Yazoo.

MDOT says motorists should exercise extreme caution when traveling over bridges and overpasses.

7 a.m. – MDOT reoprts ice on bridges and roadways in Benton and Marshall counties.

Mississippi Highway Patrol reports several accidents on Highway 72 near Alcorn Central School road. Eastbound traffic being sent in another direction. Officials say one person sent to the hospital.

6:34 a.m. – Rain coming down in Tupelo. Temperatures still high enough to avoid major ice problems. Traffic moving. A few accidents reported, but nothing major. Officials still urge caution on bridges and ask drivers to take it slow.

6:15 a.m. – Lee County and Tupelo schools open as normal today.

Click here for school closings.

Traffic moving slowly, but moving on Highway 82 around Starkville-Columbus area.

5:58 a.m. – Officials asking drivers to be careful on bridges, especially. MDOT reports icy road conditions in 44 counties around the state.

5:40 a.m. – Reports of light amounts of ice on bridges and overpasses in Grenada with one accident so far.

Also … ICC will delay opening and classes until 10 a.m.

5:30 a.m. – Officials are asking folks to be careful on the roads.

Here is an update from Miss. Dept of Transportation …

As freezing temperatures continue to plague the state, snow and icy precipitation has been reported on roadways, bridges and overpasses in the following areas: Coahoma County, as well as Attala, Bolivar, Clay, Claiborne, Copiah, Covington, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Itawamba, Jefferson Davis, Kemper, Lafayette, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Leake, Lee, Leflore, Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Newton, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Panola, Pike, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, Smith, Tallahatchie, Tippah, Union, Walthall, Washington, Winston, Yalobusha and Yazoo Counties. MDOT would like to ask all motorists when traveling over bridges and overpasses to please drive with extreme caution.

The Golden Triangle seems to be getting the worst of the weather. Temperatures are still generally above freezing, which forecasters say is good news to keep major ice situations away. Rain is coming down.

School news …

All Northeast MS CC classes are canceled and offices are closed for today, Friday, February 4.

Mississippi State University is open today and all classes are on as scheduled.

Click here for school closings.