By NEMS Daily Journal
Northeast Mississippi’s major snowfalls are rarer than a blue moon, and the memories linger for decades, even generations.
The winter storm that blanketed the South from Louisiana to Virginia this week under record and near-record snow depths caused problems and inconveniences, but in Northeast Mississippi as of late Tuesday no deaths or serious injuries had been reported as a direct result of hazardous conditions.
The storm dumped ice – which is more often the result of winter weather warnings in our state – in central Mississippi and farther north it turned to snow. The heaviest snow band swept across Northeast Mississippi and then moved eastward across Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and up the east coast, where it intensified.
Thanks to days of advance warnings from the National Weather Service’s Memphis forecasting office public emergency responders across the region had time to prepare equipment (no town or county in the region has snowplows as they’re known in snowier parts of the nations), and crews responded early and often to the situation.
Schools and many businesses closed Monday and some on Tuesday out of an abundance of caution, and the public practiced significant restraint by generally staying off roads, streets and highways on Monday, except of necessity.
Traffic flow was closer to normal by Tuesday afternoon as snow melted off major roadways and further clearing was done by public crews from county, municipal and state governments.
The snowfall, by official estimate of the National Weather Service, ranged from four inches in southern Chickasaw County to 12 inches in northern Benton County. Other of the deepest snows were reported in Tippah County (10 inches), Alcorn County (9.6 inches), Tishomingo County (10 inches) and eight inches reported in some parts of Pontotoc, Lafayette, Prentiss and Lee counties. The depth in Tupelo was measured at six inches, two inches short of the eight inches received in January 1940 – a record that has stood for 70 years.
Exceptionally cold temperatures are expected through Friday, and snowmelt is expected to refreeze on roadways. Restraint and an abundance of caution can help people in our region stay safe in this episode of rare and beautiful, but dangerous, snow cover. Wind chill advisories were to be in effect Tuesday night and until about mid-day today as skies cleared and temperatures fell.
Call (888) -728-4218 or (601)987-1211 for road condition reports in Mississippi.
The Tennessee numbers are (800) 858-6349 (option 7) and (800) 342-3258.
A few minutes spent in determining driving conditions can save wasted time, injury and even lives.