By NEMS Daily Journal
UPDATE 1:21 p.m. – From The Associated Press – Mississippi residents greeted early Thursday by a winter storm system that dumped 2 to 4 inches of snow in central parts of the state were watching it melt away by early afternoon, the National Weather Service said.
Meteorologist Joanne Culin in Jackson said the last edge of the snow system was moving through Lowndes and Noxubee counties at midday and would be in Alabama by early afternoon.
“Things are really starting to clear out. We are starting to see the sun break out and that’s helping melt things off pretty quickly,” Culin said.
Forecasters said temperatures should get into the middle to upper 40s in central Mississippi before dropping into the 20s Thursday night.
Sunny to partly cloudy conditions were expected in the Delta and central and north-central counties.
Culin said most highways should be in good shape.
“There may be some places where the precipitation hasn’t melted sufficiently, but most everything should melt before we get down to freezing,” she said.
In areas of North Mississippi, sunny to partly sunny to partly cloudy conditions prevailed from DeSoto County south of Memphis to Tupelo in the northeast.
Dozens of accidents were reported around the state as drivers battled icy conditions on roads and bridges. Conditions improved through the day Thursday.
UPDATE 10:45 a.m.: Oktibbeha County, along with several nearby counties outside of Northeast Mississippi, remains under a winter storm warning until noon today, Daily Journal’s Errol Castens reports. The Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department reports that the ground is covered and that several wrecks have resulted.
A light overnight and early-morning snowfall that turned parts of Lafayette County white has not caused any problems, said a spokesman for the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department.
Around 10 a.m., MDOT noted that Calhoun County roads and bridges were getting some ice accumulation from snow.
UPDATE: 10:12 a.m. from MEMA – Officials in Lowndes County say winter weather could have contributed to a deadly accident on Miss. Highway 50. Multiple vehicle accidents around the state have been reported to the State Emergency Operations Center in Pearl.
An overnight fire at the Webster County Courthouse destroyed the building. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The NWS has issued the following watches and warnings, which are subject to change due to developing weather conditions:
· Winter Storm Warning until noon: Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Kemper, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Neshoba, Newton, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster and Winston counties.
· Winter Weather Advisory until 11 a.m.: Calhoun, Chickasaw, Lee, Monroe and Pontotoc counties.
According to the National Weather Service, hazardous road conditions have developed with the accumulation of snow and slush on roads, bridges and overpasses. MEMA urges residents to allow extra time to reach your destination this morning. This system WILL affect morning commutes.
Many areas in central Mississippi are reporting snow accumulations of up to 4 inches. Temperatures will drop below freezing again tonight, which raises the concern for the development of ice on roads, bridges and overpasses. Motorists should use caution on their Friday morning commute.
Residents are also encouraged to check on elderly and at-risk neighbors and relatives due to the increased potential for power outages and cold temperatures. Make sure they have a safe, warm place to stay while the conditions remain cold and hazardous.
UPDATE: 9:52 a.m. – Lee County Schools Superintendent Jimmy Weeks said a bus heading to Verona Elementary School slid on Town Creek Bridge, Daily Journal’s JB Clark reports. The right front tire bounced against a guard rail.
The four students on board were uninjured and transferred to another bus. The original bus was towed to the bus shop where workers found no damage.
UPDATE: 9:41 a.m. – Lee County Emergency Management Director Lee Bowdry said besides a few wrecks in the county and a bus slipping off County Road 814, the weather hasn’t caused any problems, JB Clark reports.
UPDATE 9:40 a.m. – Tupelo Police Corp. Phillip Sandserson tells the Daily Journal’s JB Clark there is some snow accumulation on the east side of Tupelo but the roads are fine.
“We were driving the outskirts and once you get past Highway 45 going west, the roads are dry,” he said. “We were on Coley Road and it’s dry but now I’m on Veterans Boulevard and there is snow in the trees and the roads are wet.”
UPDATE 9:38 a.m.: From Lena Mitchell – Early Thursday morning weather on the west side of Tishomingo County included brief flurries of sleet before 8 a.m.
In Alcorn County an icy bridge on U.S. 72 west of Central School Road caused a couple of minor accidents that closed the bridge to westbound traffic for short time about 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Traffic was detoured around the bridge onto Old Highway 72 and back with only minor delays.
UPDATE 9:20 a.m. – From JB Clark – Much of Northeast Mississippi has been blanketed with snow this morning with up to an inch falling in parts of Tupelo.
The heavy snowfall has tapered off and John Sirmon, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in Memphis, is predicting it will be completely stopped by noon.
The temperature is supposed to climb into the low 40s as the afternoon sets in. Sirmon said most of the snow will begin to melt around 11 a.m.
For updates follow DJournalnow on Twitter.
School closings and delays
Calhoun County Schools are closed
Chickasaw County Schools are closed
Columbus Schools are closed
Houston Schools are closed
Immanuel Christian School closed
Lowndes County School closed.
Mississippi Women’s University closed.
Oak Hill Academy closed.
Oktibbeha County closed.
Pontotoc City Schools closed.
Starkville Academy closed.
Starkville Christian closed.
Starkville schools closed.
Webster County Schools are closed.
Gov. Phil Bryant will delay the opening of state offices until 10 a.m. Thursday in the Jackson metro area because of possible icy conditions. Gov. Bryant has given agency heads the discretion to delay openings in other areas in central Mississippi that may have been impacted from heavy snow moving through the state. Further, Gov. Bryant has given agency heads discretion to determine whether key personnel in their agencies should report to work prior to 10 a.m., if so, to notify them accordingly.
Send us your weather pictures and reports through the DJournal.com app.