Golden Triangle EMA directors give weather updates

Downtown Starkville saw snow and ice accumulate in the morning hours on Tuesday (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

On Tuesday, the Golden Triangle and several other regions of Mississippi saw significant snowfall, with between half an inch and two inches of snow possible for the surrounding area.

With Tuesday’s snowfall and more winter weather following behind, emergency management directors from across the region recommended citizens stay indoors and only drive if necessary. The snow and ice on the roads is expected to stay until Thursday due to temperatures staying below freezing through Wednesday.

“Overnight (into Wednesday), the low is in the low teens for the Starkville area, with winds of about 10 to 15 miles per hour,” said meteorological intern Tony Hurt of the National Weather Service Jackson Forecast Office on Tuesday. “What that’s going to do is cause the wind chill to be very likely in the low single digits.”

Hurt said the cold would keep ice on roads until temperatures went above freezing on Wednesday.

“That’s going to be the main concern after this snow moves out,” Hurt said. “It’s going to take a while for any ice that develops on the highways to melt.”

Oktibbeha County Emergency Management Agency Director Kristen Campanella said as of Tuesday morning, two accidents had been reported on Oktibbeha County roads, neither with injuries.

She said Oktibbeha County was working with the Mississippi Department of Transportation to salt roads. She said less-traveled roads were safer because the snow and ice weren’t packed down as much. However, she discouraged citizens from driving in the weather conditions.

“If you have to get out and about, keep a distance between you and the other cars, be mindful of what’s going on, stay off your phone,” Campanella said. “The most important thing I would say to people is if they don’t have to go out, don’t. Stay at home.”

Campanella also advised citizens to be careful using space heaters, keeping them at least three feet from any flammable substances, never leaving them unattended and plugging them into a wall outlet, not a power strip.
Clay County EMA Director Kerrie Gentry-Blissard said there had not been any weather-related accidents on Clay County roads as of early Tuesday afternoon.

“The road conditions are deteriorating,” Gentry-Blissard said. “They’re getting worse, and I’m afraid if the temperature’s going to drop even more, we’re going to begin to experience some sliding with vehicles and so forth with the roads frozen.”

Gentry-Blissard also warned citizens to stay off the roads as much as possible, and to be mindful of the cold weather to come.

“I always say to people to remember the three P’s, ‘people, pipes and pets,’” Gentry-Blissard said.

In Lowndes County, EMA Director Cindy Lawrence confirmed four accidents, including one with injuries on Highway 82.

Lawrence confirmed ice on bridges in Lowndes County and encouraged citizens to avoid driving.

“Just stay indoors,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence also said public works crews were out assisting with the situation.

Webster County EMA Director Barry Rushing said no accidents had been reported in Webster county, but confirmed ice and snow on roads and encouraged people to be cautious.

“We have crews out keeping an eye on the roads and checking them, making sure everybody’s OK,” Rushing said.

Rushing also encouraged citizens to avoid driving until roads were free of ice and snow.

Noxubee County EMA Director Corey Brown could not be reached, but his office said no accidents had been reported.