A rather bizarre winter storm bringing icy conditions to New Albany started early Friday morning, January 11, 2018, and continues into mid afternoon.
There were scattered power outages early Friday around the New Albany area because of damage from stiff and confused winds springing up in the early morning hours. New Albany Lights, Gas and Water (NALGW) manager Bill Mattox said at least three power poles were snapped off in the service area, resulting in loss of electricity to numerous customers. He said NALGW crews were finishing restoring power to all customers by early Friday afternoon.
Although it was feared that freezing rain forecast by the National Weather Service (NWS) might coat trees and power lines, causing widespread interruptions in electrical service, such did not occur. The power losses were caused by wind, not ice.
Public safety officials said that road conditions throughout the area were treacherous.
Warm weather and warm ground during the early part of the week produced conditions in which roadways were near normal in some places, yet bridges and roads were covered with ice only a few hundred feet away. Motorists were urged to stay off the roads if it all possible.
NWS reported a very unusual situation of warm air lying next to extremely frigid air in a mixed pattern that extended across much of the southeastern US. The colors on radar screens early Friday were reminiscent of psychedelic images published decades ago.
Extremely cold temperatures are expected to last until early next week.
MDOT tells of icy conditions on roads and offers tips to motorists who must travel
The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is reporting ice on roads and bridges in multiple counties in north and central Mississippi. MDOT crews are currently working to place salt and slag on the affected roads and bridges to make them passable.
Ice has been reported in the following counties: Alcorn, Benton, Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Lafayette, Leflore, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tippah, Tunica, Union and Washington.
The public is encouraged to limit travel only in case of emergency in the affected areas. MDOT also encourages the traveling public to pay close attention to weather and travel advisories issued by the National Weather Service, the Mississippi Highway Patrol and local law enforcement.
MDOT does not anticipate any road or bridge closures due to winter weather at this time; however, motorists should use extreme caution when traveling through the affected counties.
MDOT’s number one priority is the safety of the traveling public, and using safe driving techniques is one way to ensure you “survive your drive” during winter weather. MDOT offers these safe driving tips:
buckle up for safety;
slow down, especially when driving in winter weather conditions;
allow more space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you;
brake early to allow plenty of time to stop;
brake gently to avoid skidding and never slam on the brakes;
turn on lights to be more visible to other motorists;
do not use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads;
stay alert and look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do; and
To stay up-to-date on current road and travel conditions, visit MDOTtraffic.com