Light snow shutters schools, closes roads in Vicksburg

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, January 29, 2014

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Snow and ice kept area schools closed today after the icy conditions shut down a portion of U.S. 61 South Tuesday and caused several accidents, nearly all of which involved vehicles sliding roads.
The wintry precipitation is part of a system expected to dump up to four inches of snow on a wide swath of the south from Texas to the Carolinas Tuesday and today, with almost 40 million people in the storm’s path.
The heaviest snow in the state was south of Interstate 20, where the storm’s cold temperatures met moisture coming from the Gulf of Mexico. The snow was light enough that it did not register as precipitation with the Vicksburg Water Treatment plant. A trace amount was registered at Vicksburg-Tallulah Regional Airport by the National Weather Service in Jackson, which estimated a half-inch of snow fell in south Warren County.
Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said the major concern is drivers losing control of their vehicles.
“We don’t have any injuries, just some cars going off in the ditches,” he said Tuesday. “It’s the worst on the south end of the county. Down in Yokena, it looks like a winter wonderland.”
A portion of U.S. 61 near LeTourneau Road was closed Tuesday morning after several vehicles slid off the road. LeTourneau Road, just south of Vicksburg’s city limits, sits between two hills.
The road was opened by about 10:30 a.m. after Mississippi Department of Transportation road crews arrived and laid down slag — a mixture of salt and rocks meant to prevent the development of ice.
Vicksburg North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield has been overseeing the city’s efforts to deal with the snow and ice. He said Tuesday Vicksburg Police Department officers had been on patrol, checking roads and neighborhood streets and monitoring bridges and overpasses.
“Everything looks real good. The shift commander already has checked all the roads in the neighborhoods. He doesn’t see where there’s a serious problem, and hopefully we won’t have many areas that freeze over and make black ice.”
Mayfield and officers made another ride through the city this morning.
“Everything was very good,” he said. “I found out about 5 a.m. that they had postponed school again today. They probably had a few spots of black ice out there.’
The weather led to the closure of the Vicksburg Warren School District’s 15 schools, Porters Chapel Academy and Vicksburg Catholic Schools, as well as Hinds Community College and Alcorn State University’s three campuses in Lorman, Natchez and Vicksburg Tuesday. Alcorn, VWSD, PCA and Hinds remained closed today while Vicksburg Catholic Schools were open.
Night classes were expected to meet at Hinds tonight.
Warren County offices closed at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon.
John Elfer, director of the Warren County Emergency Management Agency, expected the snow and ice to remain until temperatures top freezing levels today.
“I think based on what we saw yesterday morning, people listened to our advice,” Elfer said Tuesday. “Hopefully it’s cleared up by mid-morning.”