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Ice, snow coat Lincoln County

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is advising motorists to stay off of roads until temperatures rise above freezing, which may not happen until Thursday.

The Brookhaven Water and Street departments spent much of Tuesday salting city bridges and overpasses, but caution is still recommended while driving in and around Lincoln County. MDOT crews were also busy Tuesday treating bridges throughout the area.

Snow fell off and on throughout Tuesday, dropping up to a one-half inch blanket of white. Slippery conditions were reported on several roads and bridges late Tuesday. Black ice will remain a concern Wednesday.

Motorists should use extreme caution if traveling in Southwest Mississippi, said Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey.

“Bridges, overpasses, county roads are icing over,” Galey said Tuesday afternoon. “If people don’t need to be on the roads, they should stay off.”

He said the same will hold true Wednesday.

Galey attributed at least three collisions motorists driving in the weather.

Cpl. Brandon Fortenberry with the Mississippi Highway Patrol said several accidents have occurred on I-55 and other state highways in Lincoln County.

“Most have been slide-offs,” he said.

None resulted in injuries.

Galey said classes are canceled today in the Brookhaven and Lincoln County school districts as well as Brookhaven Academy.

Lawrence County School Superintendent Tammy Fairburn posted on social media that classes there will be canceled Wednesday, too.

Wesson Attendance Center principal Marilyn Phillips said Copiah County schools are closed also. Brookhaven and Monticello boards of aldermen rescheduled public meetings to Thursday at their regular times. Brookhaven will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monticello will meet at 5 p.m. The Lincoln County School Board will meet Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Region 8 boardroom.

Public officials are mainly concerned with preventing weather-related highway fatalities. Many roadways are icy, and Galey hopes locals will stay out of harm’s way.

“If people have to get out, I hope they will proceed very carefully,” he said.

Galey said the current cold snap probably won’t affect area power service, and the weather shouldn’t impact home heating systems. However, in case of an extreme emergency, the city is capable of housing people without electricity.

“The plan works through the Office of Emergency Management, the mayor’s office and the police department,” Galey said.

If a life threatening disaster strikes, the Lincoln County Multipurpose Building can be converted into a public shelter. But Galey said it’s unlikely a shelter will be necessary this week.

“There’s always the possibility of opening the shelter,” he said. “But only for a serious emergency, which the current situation is not.” 

City officials will only open the multipurpose building to the public if people’s lives are at stake. To help reduce weather-related illness and injury, stay indoors and check on family, friends and neighbors who may not have a sufficient source of heat, he said.

Meanwhile, Brookhaven Public Works Director Keith Lewis’s team is busy monitoring city pipes. He advises homeowners to take special care in protecting their water lines.

“We don’t anticipate any problems, but, with Mother Nature, you never know,” he said.

A Hard Freeze Warning remains in effect. Daytime highs today will likely not rise above freezing. The low tonight will drop into the teens. This long duration of very low temps will put stress on life and property. Prolonged exposure could lead to hypothermia and may harm pets and livestock. Exposed plumbing is in danger of being damaged.

A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Below is a list of roadways with ice, courtesy of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. There are several others not listed that have icy spots.
• Hwy. 51
• Hwy. 550
• I-55
• Old Hwy. 51
• Pricedale
• Hog Chain
• New Sight
• Hwy. 84
• East Lincoln