PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency urges Mississippians to exercise extreme caution during the ongoing winter weather event. Reports of icy bridges and roads are already coming into the State Emergency Operations Center in Pearl, and conditions are not expected to improve in some areas for the next several days.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service predict temperatures will remain near or below freezing through Thursday, as a storm system brings rain, freezing rain and sleet to areas just north of the U.S. Highway 84 corridor to the Tennessee state line. Areas south of the U.S. Highway 84 corridor have a limited threat for severe weather this evening. The primary threat in this area will be high winds.
Several agencies have reported winter weather updates to the SEOC:
- Schools: Several schools, colleges and universities have closed or delayed opening for Tuesday. It is recommended that you contact your specific school district, college or university for more information.
- Power Outages: As of 3 p.m., electric power companies and associations reported nearly 14,000 power outages statewide.
- Roads: The Mississippi Department of Transportation is reporting some icing on Mississippi roadways in several counties. MDOT continues to monitor roadway conditions, and treat iced roadways when needed. For up-to-date roadway information, go to www.mdottraffic.com or dial 5-1-1.
- Accidents: The Mississippi Department of Public Safety has reported 25 accidents and two injuries. Motorists are urged to stay off the roads as additional icing is expected on roads, bridges and overpasses.
With the forecast of freezing rain in parts of the state, residents should be prepared to be without power for an extended period of time.
MEMA recommends the following safety tips during winter storms:
- Stay home and do not drive on snowy or icy roads unless it is an emergency.
- Have a fully stocked emergency supply kit.
- Stay clear of downed power lines. Even if the electricity appears to have been turned off, leave the lines alone. Do not try to move them yourself.
- Only operate generators outdoors. Do not operate a generator inside your home or garage.
- Be cautious when using alternative heat sources. Do not use a stove for heat because it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Check on neighbors who are shut-ins, elderly, families with small children, medical-care dependent, non-English speaking, low-income and have no transportation to ensure they have power and are safe.
- Letting water drip from a faucet during extremely cold weather can relieve water pressure and help prevent pipes of your home from bursting. If you suspect your pipes are frozen and may have burst, turn off your water at the main shut-off valve and call a plumber.
It is imperative for you to stay aware of weather in your area, as conditions change. Monitor your local media outlets or your NWS Office.
The SEOC is activated with state and partnering agencies to respond to county requests for assistance. Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency on Sunday. A state of emergency is an administrative tool that authorizes the use of additional state resources to aid in storm response efforts.
For detailed preparedness information, contact your county emergency management agency, or go to MEMA’s website at www.msema.org. The best way to get up-to-date information is to “Like” MEMA on Facebook, or “Follow” us on twitter.