Freezing temps expected to last 48 hours

Published 8:54 am Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Interstate 20 bridge and Old U.S. Highway 80 Bridge.

The Interstate 20 bridge and Old U.S. Highway 80 Bridge.

It’s going to get cold, very cold.

The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures well below average for the next several days as a very strong arctic high pressure pushes down from the north and settles just to the west of Mississippi.

“The good thing is in the daytime the temperatures will be above freezing,” Warren County Emergency Manager John Elfer said.

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Elfer is expecting temperatures at or below freezing for 12 to 48 hours starting Wednesday night.

“The good thing is there is no frozen precipitation expected,” Elfer said. “However there is a 20 percent chance of sleet Friday.”

Wednesday night into Thursday morning will see low temperatures around 16 degrees with 5 to 10 mph winds.

“It’s going to be very cold,” National Weather Service meteorologist David Cox said. “The highs may reach right around or just above freezing Thursday. Also with the wind associated with the high pressure wind chills are predicted to be in the single digits.”

Cox said that “if” temperatures get above the freezing mark Thursday, it wouldn’t be for long.

“If we do reach above freezing in the Vicksburg area Thursday it will only be for a couple of hours then drop back below freezing with lows around 20 degrees Friday morning,” Cox said.

With prolonged freezing temperatures the River City Rescue Mission on Washington Street converts to a cold weather shelter, executive director Earnie Hall said.

“We can hold up to 65 people,” Hall said. The mission currently has 46 people in its program.

“What we do basically is during the daytime, we make coffee and people can come and hang around from the morning until the afternoon,” Salvation Army Capt. Srikant Bhatnagar said.

The Salvation Army in Vicksburg does not have a shelter, but one is open in Jackson, Bhatnagar said.

With the expected freezing temperatures, it is important to take precautions and check on elderly family members or neighbors.

The Red Cross offers the following tips to stay safe during with cold weather.

• Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.

•  Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.

• Protect your pipes by running water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.

• Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.

• If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away — things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.

• Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

• Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.

• If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

• Use generators correctly. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.

• Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.