Snow, ice hit region

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Northeast Mississippians can expect today to bring more of the wintry precipitation that started falling Sunday afternoon.
A weather system moving in from the west was expected to drop up to half a foot of snow on the area, which rarely sees more than an inch or two at a time. Cancellations and warnings of unsafe driving conditions accompanied the unusual forecast.
“This is the kind of thing we see in the Midwest, but it’s shifted itself 500 miles,” said Bill Borghoff, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Memphis. Moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and a cold atmosphere, he said, are to blame for the snow, the area’s first since about 1.4 inches fell Christmas Day.
The system, which included sleet and freezing rain, covered nearly all of the state, with the ice and snow reaching from the Tennessee line to the Jackson area. South Mississippi received rain.
As of 5 p.m. Sunday, the Mississippi Department of Transportation said snow and icy precipitation had been reported on roads, bridges and overpasses all across north Mississippi and as far south as Warren County.
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said there had been a few one-car accidents in which vehicles had skidded off of the road due to ice. No injuries were reported. Several stranded cars had also been called in.
Other accidents were reported in Tupelo and in Monroe County.
Snow and sleet were falling Northeast Mississippi as early as 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with at least an inch of snow reported in Bruce at 2:45 p.m. Snow began in Tupelo about 3 p.m. Sunday before tapering off later in the afternoon.
The heaviest snowfall was expected overnight Sunday.
Today’s forecast calls for “areas of freezing drizzle, and maybe some light snow, on and off. There shouldn’t be an accumulation of snow or drizzle,” Borghoff said.
Temperatures should be in the upper 20s.
Trooper Ray Hall with the Mississippi Highway Patrol said drivers are urged to stay home. Troopers adjusted their hours to allow for more of them to be on the road to assist drivers if they are needed.
The weather led to cancellation of classes today and tonight at all Itawamba Community College campuses. Mississippi State University and Blue Mountain College also canceled classes today, as did the University of Mississippi for all of its campuses except for Jackson.
Cancellations were announced for almost all of Northeast Mississippi’s school districts, including Tupelo, which will make up the classes on April 22, and Lee County.
Contact Sheena Barnett at (662) 678-1580 or sheena.barnett@journalinc.com.