• 68°

Lincoln County area braces for wintry weather

If there’s snow on the ground where you are, enjoy it while you can. It won’t last long.

Anywhere from one to four inches of snow was expected to fall overnight, which could cover the ground with a thin blanket of powder, said Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey.

However, a high temp of 41 degrees will cause it to disappear by midday, said meteorologist Tony Hurt with the National Weather Service in Jackson. Tonight’s low is forecast to be 24.

“Anything that still remains, that hasn’t melted away will very likely refreeze and will pose a hazard on the highways, particularly overpasses,” he said.

Southwest Mississippi remains under a winter storm warning until noon today.

As of Thursday night, Lincoln County and Brookhaven school districts were planning to start classes at 9 a.m. today. The Lawrence County School District planned to start at 9:30 a.m. Brookhaven Academy and Wesson Attendance Center had not announced a delayed start time.

Exams set for 8 a.m. at Copiah-Lincoln Community College are scheduled for 1 p.m., said Natalie Davis, director of communications. Exams set for 10:30 a.m. will remain at that time. The business offices will open at 10 a.m.

Hurt said tonight is expected to be “nice and clear with skies clearing as well.”

Lincoln County can expect to see a high of 53 Saturday and 51 Sunday.

“Saturday looks to be a very nice day,” he said.

Temperatures will stay in the freeze zone through the weekend though, with a low of 27 Saturday and 30 Sunday.

Galey was planning to learn more about the weather’s outcome at a 4 a.m. conference call today. He didn’t expect schools to cancel classes unless something drastic occurred overnight, he said.

“Hopefully it’s just snow,” he told The Daily Leader. “If people just take their time and pay attention, they’ll be OK.”

He said that the snow should turn to slush by afternoon.

“We can only hope that it melts early and runs off so it doesn’t freeze tomorrow night,” he said Thursday.

Galey encouraged residents to take precautions with pipes, plants and pets, and to be careful with fireplaces and space heaters. He warned of icy roads as well.

“If you don’t have to get out, don’t,” he said.

Because of the rain, MDOT crews did not plan to pre-treat roads and bridges with de-icing material Thursday as the rain would wash it from the roadway.

“There is a very narrow window in which crews can apply de-icing material to roads and bridges,” MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath said. “If it is applied too early, traffic will wear the material off the road. The material has to have a dry surface for application, and applying it during or after rainfall renders it ineffective.”

MDOT is preparing equipment by installing salt spreaders on trucks and making sure all response vehicles are fueled and running properly. Crews were stocking salt, sand and asphalt slag piles Thursday.

To assist the traveling public in preparing for potential winter weather conditions, MDOT offers these safe driving tips.

• Remember, ice will form on bridges and overpasses quicker than the road.

• Slow down — should winter weather conditions become present, “black ice” can form.

• Allow more space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

• Brake early and gently to avoid skidding, and never slam on the brakes.

• Avoid distractions, such as talking or texting on a cell phone.

• Stay alert.