Warren County, Mississippi prepare for winter weather

Published 7:36 pm Friday, January 12, 2018

Warren County residents should prepare for the possibility of hazardous weather through the weekend and much of next week.

The National Weather Service in Jackson is predicting hard freeze conditions from Saturday through Thursday as low temperatures fall below 20 degrees and highs will be at or near freezing for much of the week.

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“This is possible mainly along and north of the I-20 corridor Tuesday through Wednesday night,” said Mark McAlister with the National Weather Service in Jackson. “This potential weather event is still several days away and the timing and impacts will likely be adjusted in later forecasts.”

Warren County Emergency Management Director John Elfer said wind chills could make conditions dangerous.

“Over the weekend it looks like we will be seeing some sunshine, but will still have the freezing temperatures, with lows below 20 degrees and highs near 32 degrees in addition to dangerous wind chills,” Elfer said. “Also, there is a small chance of rain/sleet/snow mix on Monday night.”

Elfer advises motorists to use caution on roadways and especially on bridges and overpasses.

Mississippi Department of Transportation Public Information Manager Jason Scott said right now MDOT is monitoring the weather and relying heavily on the National Weather Service forecast.

“Right now, we’re just doing typical monitoring and making sure our equipment is in working order and ready to go if needed and that our salt and sand is in good shape,” Scott said. “With winter weather, we rely heavily on the National Weather Service and monitor the weather as it gets closer. If it looks like the weather temperatures are dropping, then we will pre-treat roads and bridges.”

Scott said there is a narrow window for when they can put de-icing material on roadways.

“We can’t do that too early because the heavy traffic will just wear it off or if it rains, it will wash the material away,” Scott said. “We base our response heavily on the National Weather Service.”

Ice coated broad swaths of the South Friday, causing traffic snarls. Memphis police responded to more than 100 crashes. In Mississippi, a tractor-trailer overturned after crashing on icy Interstate 55, causing traffic delays.

The winter storm, which began with an icy mix before turning to snow, forced schools and businesses to close in Tennessee and Kentucky. Hardest hit were western sections of both states.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.