Snow blankets northern counties

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

A winter storm on Monday brought more than five inches of snow to parts of Northeast Mississippi, producing picture-postcard beauty but creating traffic hazards and closing schools as well.
The early morning snowfall swept across the northernmost Mississippi counties, including Benton, Tippah, Alcorn and Tishomingo, extending down into Prentiss.
The largest snow accumulations measured 5.5 inches for Corinth and 5 inches for Iuka – with the possibility of more accumulation overnight into Tuesday, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Duke.
The wet snowfall kept the Mississippi Highway Patrol busy with minor incidents, said Trooper Ray Hall.
Most accidents were reported in Alcorn and Tishomingo counties on U.S. Highway 72, U.S. Highway 45 and U.S. Highway 25, with a few additional incidents in Benton, Tippah and Prentiss counties, he said.
“The main focus has been patches of ice reported in those counties,” he said. “Mississippi 25 was temporarily closed when an 18-wheeler slid off the road and blocked it for a little while.”
The Mississippi Department of Transportation issued a traffic alert for Alcorn, Prentiss, Tippah and Tishomingo counties during the day Monday, warning of snow and ice on bridges and highways. By late afternoon, however, local and state road crews and rain had largely cleared highways, many secondary roads and city streets.
In Booneville, Street Department Manager James Olive said Monday that road crews had treated some bridges and overpasses and there were still some slick places, but the snow was already melting.
The Corinth street crews got an early start, spokesman Herbert Taylor said, treating bridges and hills, and downtown streets were pretty clear by mid-morning.
“Most of the snow is gone, but the bridges are still icy,” Alcorn 5th District Supervisor Jimmy Tate Waldon said about 3:30 p.m., describing the western area of the county. “It’s raining now and 34 degrees, but if it drops down tonight it will mean treacherous driving. If people don’t have to be out in it, they need to stay in.”
According to the National Weather Service, today’s forecast for Tupelo calls for a high of 39 degrees with a chance of rain and/or snow, while in Corinth, the temperature is expected to reach only 35 degrees with a chance of rain and/or snow in the morning as well. Overnight lows tonight are expected to drop into the 20s.
The light sleet that fell early in Tupelo on Monday turned to rain in the afternoon. The Monday overnight forecast for Tupelo called for light to moderate rain, possibly turning to a sleet and light snow mix, a Lee County emergency management spokeswoman said.
School districts in the heavily affected northern-tier counties were closed Monday due to the snow and others delayed opening for two hours, while division high school basketball tournaments in Mantachie and West Union were rescheduled for today.
The Mathematics Science Tournament at Blue Mountain College has been postponed until Feb. 16.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.