Ice storm 2013: Near miss … or mess?

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

Daylight this morning will tell whether Northeast Mississippi escaped significant damage from the freezing rain that visited for the past two days.
The National Weather Service placed Alcorn, Benton, Lafayette, Marshall, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union counties under an ice storm warning through 6 a.m. today.
A land mass under such warnings stretched through Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, with other counties near the warning area expected to receive lesser amounts of rain or freezing rain.
Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Ray Hall said the weather presented surprisingly few problems Tuesday.
“We had a few slick spots up on Highway 72, but we haven’t had any major travel troubles,” he said. “I think we only worked three wrecks (Tuesday), and one of those was a deer crash.”
Hall feared, however, that refreezing water on roadways might create hazardous driving conditions overnight.
In Marshall County, Sheriff Kenny Dickerson also reported that Tuesday’s conditions had not created severe problems.
“The road crews have gotten out and put out salt and rock. Traffic is moving along without any major problems,” he said around mid-afternoon. “We do have the timber and wires beginning to sag.”
Small power outages were reported in places as far spread as Walnut and Oxford.
A few Northeast Mississippi school districts near the Tennessee line stayed closed all day Tuesday, but schools in most of the region opened as usual.
The possibility of icy roads, however, compelled many districts to dismiss students early for a second consecutive day.
Whether more ice accumulated overnight or not, it will soon be a memory.
The National Weather Service is predicting little precipitation this morning and highs this afternoon in the mid-40s. Clearing skies and highs in the 40s and 50s are expected the next several days.
errol.castens@journalinc.com