Northeast Mississippians learned this week that defining an ic

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Northeast Mississippians learned this week that defining an ice storm in our state is an imprecise science.

Two years ago, the Ice Storm of ’94 devastated trees, which in turn destroyed power lines and caused widespread property damage as limbs and trunks shattered. Streets and roads remained relatively clear.

The Ice Storm of ’96, which started Thursday and ended late Friday, left most Northeast Mississippians with electrical power and relatively little tree-related damage. Streets, county roads and highways, however, retain a layer of ice that looks like white frosting and provides less traction than Teflon.

The storm, starkly beautiful from a distance, holds danger for everyone, even those who attempt to deal with it in a casual way. Fourteen people statewide had died as of mid-day Tuesday from causes directly related to the ice. One of the deaths was a tragic recreational accident; another involved a man who left home on an errand and was killed when his vehicle slipped into a river. Other deaths were caused by exposure, a terrible house fire, and more traffic accidents.

People across the region whose work includes maintaining streets, other roadways and electrical power , as in 1994, have gone many extra miles and hours since Thursday. Their efforts have made limited travel possible where, without their work, it would have been impossible. Power outages and water line problems apparently have received quick attention and timely repairs. Many private-sector service providers, including the carriers for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, continue working in terribly adverse conditions to meet the public’s needs.

Warming weather Tuesday and again today was supposed to begin significant melting. However, it’s apparent that some ice including slick roadways probably will remain a hazard until later in the week. Many residents of less-traveled roads said Tuesday they had not seen pavement since Thursday afternoon before the icing began.

Northeast Mississippi infrequently faces winter-weather hazards like ice storms. We’re reminded, when the storms stop us in our tracks, that even good equipment and extraordinary extra effort can’t solve all the problems. Life will return to normal routines when the ice melts and we’re able to move about with accustomed convenience.

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