• 73°

Freezing temps likely into the night; officials urge staying at home

If Thursday’s weather continues into the night and Friday, localemergency officials say the best thing to do is stay home.

Weather conditions Thursday were snowy, with slush on the groundand a blanket of snow that was thick by south Mississippistandards. Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galeysaid information from the National Weather Service pointed toconditions worsening, with between 8 and 10 inches of snow expectedbetween Thursday and Friday.

“The weather service says we can expect 20-30 mile per hour windgusts through lunch,” Galey said Thursday morning. “The snowprobably will not quit until mid afternoon or later, andtemperatures will hover around freezing all day and get into thelower 20s tonight, making conditions that much more hazardous.”

If possible, Galey said, area residents should batten down thehatches and ride out the storm if the freeze kicks inovernight.

“Tonight with all this stuff on the ground I know…everything’sgoing to freeze over,” Galey said. “I would advise from this pointforward until it falls out if you don’t have to get out, don’t.Between the city, county and (Mississippi Highway Patrol) therehave been an exceptionally high number of cars off the road.”

Officials have urged motorists to use caution if they have nochoice to be out, because the snow and slush are not the onlyhazards to motorists on the road. Trees burdened by the weight ofthe snow are beginning to fall and lose branches into the roadwayas well, officials said.

Meanwhile, there are precautions that need to be taken at home,Galey said. For many residents of the South, the rare need to rideout winter weather conditions has left them unprepared.

“It doesn’t happen here and people aren’t used to it,” he said.”People need to make sure their pipes are wrapped because it’ll becold tonight, and they need to be careful with space heaters evenif they’re gas or propane, and make sure they’re safe.”

Fireplaces can also be a hazard during the winter weather, sohomeowners with fireplaces need to be certain to take safetyprecautions and not to leave the fire unattended.

“Just bear with us and stay off the road for the next couple ofdays until the weather blows over if you can,” said Lincoln CountySheriff Steve Rushing.