While parts of the Mid-South may get up to a half-inch of ice and another two to four inches of sleet or snow, forecasters say the worst is expected to bypass Northeast Mississippi.
“It doesn’t look like it’ll have much impact there,” said Marlene Mickelson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Memphis. “Looks like it’ll be just rain for most of your area. At this point that looks unlikely to change.”
After much of north Mississippi was included in a special weather statement earlier this week, only Tunica and DeSoto counties are under the current winter storm watch. Marshall and Lafayette counties are the closest Northeast Mississippi counties to the watch area.
“It looks like we’re going to be on the edge of this system,” said Lafayette County emergency management coordinator David Shaw. “We’re expecting maybe a tenth of an inch of ice, and they tell us that is not significant as far as bringing down limbs and power lines.”
Jimmy Allgood, emergency management coordinator for the City of Oxford, said even if Northeast Mississippi misses the ice, heavy precipitation will present its own challenges.
“This is an extremely cold front,” he said. “And we’re expecting to get four to five inches just in the form of rain.”
Several days of unseasonably warm temperatures are expected to end tonight as the slow-moving cold front drops lows to around 40. Progressively colder temps are forecast for Friday, reaching near freezing by evening. Snow or freezing rain chances on Friday night are set at 40 percent and at 70 percent for Saturday night.
The weekend is expected to be cloudy, cold and occasionally rainy or snowy. After Friday night, the next best chance of frozen precipitation is Saturday night.
Just in case forecasts change for the worse, road and utility crews will be on standby to address any weather-related problems. Shaw said Lafayette County road manager Jerry Haynie would have trucks loaded with salt or gravel for bridges and other icy spots if necessary.
“He told his crews to be prepared to work on Saturday if need be,” Shaw said. “We’re going to be ready.”