JACKSON—Gov. Phil Bryant has issued a state of emergency ahead of winter weather forecast to affect portions of north Mississippi tonight through Monday. The National Weather Service believes the extreme northern counties near the Tennessee state line could see as much as three quarters of an inch of ice from freezing rain. This could cause power outages and extremely dangerous travel. Areas along and north of MS HWY 82 could see freezing rain and sleet may make travel over bridges and overpasses treacherous. In addition there is the possibility of severe thunderstorms in the southern part of the state on Monday as the strong cold front pushes through Mississippi.
A state of emergency is an administrative tool that authorizes the use of additional state resources to aid in storm response efforts.
“I have declared a state of emergency so the state can be in position to respond as quickly as possible should weather conditions become dangerous,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “Residents should not overreact but should take time now to make proper preparations for icy conditions.”
MEMA will activate the State Emergency Operations Center at 10 p.m. Sunday night to monitor and respond to any requests for assistance.
The public is encouraged to follow updates from MEMA on Twitter, Facebook and at www.msema.org. MEMA’s free mobile phone app is also available for download on Android and iPhone devices.
Additional State Actions
The Mississippi Department of Transportation has pre-treated highways to reduce ice accumulations and has crews prepared to continuously work the interstates and state roads.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is increasing its number of state troopers and is prepared to send additional troopers from south and central parts of the state to the north.
The Mississippi Department of Education is working closely with all school districts ready to assist with any decisions on school closures, although most public schools are closed Monday due to holiday.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services is working closely with county emergency managers, the Red Cross and Salvation Army for possible sheltering needs.
The Mississippi Department of Health is in close contact with medical facilities and staff ready to support any impacts.
MEMA along with other state agencies will provide preparedness information and situational updates through the state joint information center.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
- Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms. If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure your family and neighbors know the risks, and find ways to communicate with them during the cold temperatures.
- Keep contact with elderly and at-risk neighbors and relatives. Make sure they have a safe, warm place to stay while the conditions remain cold and hazardous.
- Ensure community members have a fully-stocked emergency supply kit with items like food, water, medications, flashlights and extra batteries.
- Identify residents who are: shut-ins, elderly, families with small children, medical-care dependent, non-English speaking, low-income and have no transportation.
- Do not travel unless absolutely necessary. Driving conditions will be hazardous.
- If traveling, let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
- Battery and ignition system: should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
- Brakes: check for wear and fluid levels.
- Heater and defroster: ensure they are working properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights: ensure they are working properly.
- Gas tank: Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during freezing weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
Warm vehicle engines attract outdoor animals and pets. To avoid injury to hidden animals, hit on your vehicle’s hood before starting your engine.