Today’s sleet, snow only the beginning|Temps predicted to drop to 15 Thursday

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 4, 2010

Cold temperatures combined with cloudy skies to bring snow flurries and sleet to Vicksburg this morning, and the forecast is for more on Thursday.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty about Thursday’s weather, in terms of precipitation type as well as accumulations,” said Ariel Cohen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson. “It’s going to be hard to pinpoint and people should continue to monitor it.”

Today, snow was falling in Oxford and other north Mississippi locations, with flurries and sleet as far south as Port Gibson. Throughout central Mississippi, temperatures were expected not to get above 35 for the day.

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City emergency personnel were reporting some icing on overpasses and bridges this morning, but county roads were clear, Sheriff Martin Pace said. “I’ve been in touch with emergency management personnel and we’re watching the weather carefully,” he said.

The NWS is forecasting a prolonged cold snap, with the high for the week reaching just 43 degrees Wednesday. Lows were expected to be around 20 degrees tonight and Tuesday, and down to 15 Thursday night.

“We have an Arctic air mass that has pushed south,” Cohen said. “We’re pulling that very cold air down over the entire region.” The cold was expected to last through the weekend.

Thursday also brings a 60 percent chance of snow, with some accumulation possible, Cohen said, due to another low-pressure system moving into the area.

“It’s important for people to prepare for very cold temperatures and continue to monitor the potential for wintry weather Thursday,” he said.

“As long as it’s snow, we’re OK,” Don Arnold, spokesman with Entergy, said of the possibility of power outages. “If ice accumulates — that’s the problem. Our forecasts are not showing that, but that could change.”

Cohen said rain — turning to ice as temperatures drop — instead of snow is possible.

If weather causes any downed power lines, they should be reported to Entergy immediately, Arnold said. “People should not attempt to clear them out of their own yards or touch them.”

Cohen said the unusually cold temperatures are affecting an area that extends north over the plains and entire Midwest. Another system is causing a similar cold snap in New England, he said.

In 2001, a New Year’s Day snow caused scattered power outages and at least 30 wrecks in the city and nearly 60 in the county, but also brought sledding opportunities for the kids, some improvised on trash can lids.

Temperature averages in Vicksburg for Jan. 4 are a high of 55 and a low of 35. The record high in Vicksburg for Jan. 4 was 77 degrees, set in 1917. The record low, 10 degrees, was set in 1919.


Contact Pamela Hitchins at