Snow forecast spurs prep

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – With wintry precipitation in the forecast comes the inevitable run on milk and bread.
Salt, sand and gravel are high on the list, too.
While grocery stores were girding for shoppers stocking up on staples, city and county workers were checking their inventory of material needed to help keep roads open if the forecast for up to eight inches of snow Sunday holds true.
Tupelo Public Works has four snowplows doubling as saltspreaders ready to put into action, along with four more salt trucks. Lee County workers were filling dump trucks on Friday with gravel to spread on icy roads and bridges if needed.
Lee County Road Foreman Tim Allred on Thursday said his crews would keep an eye on the more than 150 bridges in the county.
“We have a lot of bridges in the county and it’s going to take a lot of manpower to take care of them, but we are prepared for the worst,” he said.
At least one driver was happy to hear the news.
“That’s good, because it can get dicey out there when it’s all icy,” said Ray Taranza, who recently moved from the Chicago area to Mississippi for a job. “Nothing personal, but you guys don’t drive very well in this stuff.”
One thing residents do excel at is heading to the grocery stores when the weather forecast calls for snow and ice.
“Oh, it’s coming,” said Clay Knight of Todd’s Big Star on Friday. “It’s going to be bread, milk, meat. There’s always a rush, it seems.”
Knight hadn’t seen much of a rush on Friday at around noon, but expected business to pick up Friday afternoon and today.
At Palmer’s Supermarket, the “snow rush” was developing Friday afternoon.
Owner Damon Palmer said he ordered extra bread, milk and eggs for the rush.
“We’re a little busier now because of the forecast,” he said. “I’ve had to be up here all day because of the forecast. It is a good thing.”
And if the store happens to run out of some items?
“Customers are understanding when you run out of things in this situation,” he said.
Palmer expects the store will be busy right up until the snow starts falling.
“It’s part of the grocery business – every time this happens,” he said.
More customers will shop for a snow scare versus a severe thunderstorm, he added. For a real big snow scare, the store turns into a “madhouse.”
At Todd’s, Knight said he wasn’t sure why bread and milk are among the first items to be snapped up when the forecast calls for ice and snow.
“I guess people are going to make peanut butter and jelly or bologna sandwiches,” he said with a laugh.
If the power goes out, many people will be unable to cook on electric stoves. That’s when a gas or charcoal grill comes in handy.
“And we have plenty of charcoal ready, too,” Knight said.
The massive ice storm of 1994 is deeply ingrained in the memories of many, including Charlotte Townsend, who said ever since then, she’s stocked up on groceries.
“I’m guilty – I do the bread and milk thing,” she said with a laugh. “But I get canned goods, too, like soup, canned meat, peanut butter, stuff you can use if the electricity goes out.”
Michelle Layton of Todd’s remembers the ’94 storm, too.
“When you walked down the aisle, only a can of vegetables was left. It was awesome.”
Knight and Palmer said their stores each would receive another delivery of bread and milk today.
“We’re going to be as ready as we can,” Knight said. “We’ll just see what happens.”
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@journalinc.com.

In the forecast: Sunday snow
TUPELO – The National Weather Service said Friday afternoon that 5 to 8 inches of snow could fall in north Mississippi with light flurries further south beginning Sunday.
The National Weather Service in Memphis
says there is more than a 70 percent chance for snow in north Mississippi beginning Sunday, rising to 80 percent Sunday night and dropping back to 50 percent Monday during the day.