By Eileen Bailey
Strong winds caused minor damage in some Northeast Mississippi counties Thursday as a cold front moved into the area.
The winds, some exceeding 55 mph, caused accidents and power outages and carried debris, garbage cans and other items across streets and yards.
A spokesman with the Natchez Trace Parkway said strong winds caused a power outage at the headquarters as the strongest part of the front moved through Lee County.
Capt. Russ Witt, spokesman for the Tupelo Police Department, said winds played a part in an accident involving an 18-wheeler that overturned on U.S. Highway 45 in Tupelo.
The driver of the truck, Christopher R. Hobson, was not injured, Witt said. The accident occurred when Hobson was traveling in the southbound lane of Highway 45 near the Barnes Crossing exit. According to the driver and witnesses, the truck got caught in a large gust of wind as it crossed over the overpass, causing the driver to lose control of the truck. No other cars were involved in the accident.
Straight-line winds, which are damaging winds that exceed 55 mph but are not related to a tornado, were reported in some areas.
These winds also caused a 18-wheeler trailer to topple Thursday onto a smaller truck behind Wal-Mart Supercenter on North Gloster. Two smaller trailers next to the parking lot also were blown over. A light pole in the parking lot of Lowe's also was knocked down by winds.
Johnny Timmons, director of Tupelo's Water & Light Department, said strong winds caused power outages in several locations Thursday morning. The first outage occurred in the South Lawndale and Cliff Gookin area and the second was in the Veterans Boulevard and Cliff Gookin area.
Other counties in Northeast Mississippi also reported accidents caused by the weather. A Pontotoc County woman received cuts and bruises when the mobile home she was in was blown over by the wind as the storm front moved through the area, said a spokesman with the Pontotoc County Sheriff's Department. The trailer is located on Mississippi Highway 342 in the Zion community. Also, in other parts of the county trees and limbs were down because of the high winds.
In Itawamba County, residents in the north part of the county experienced power outages and a roof was blown off a shed.
A tornado touched down briefly in Marshall County. A spokesman with the Marshall County Sheriff's Department said the tornado was reported between Byhalia and Red Banks. No injuries or structural damage were reported.
After unseasonably warm weather the first half of the week, colder weather is expected to grip Northeast Mississippi today and the remainder of the weekend.
Temperatures earlier in the week saw highs in the 60s and occasionally in the 70s and lows in the 40s and 50s.
An arctic cold front moving in behind the rain caused temperatures to begin dropping Thursday afternoon. Pam Boyette, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Memphis, said a slight chance of snow flurries had been predicted for Thursday, but no accumulation was expected. The cloudy weather was expected to move out of the area by early today.
Residents should bundle up today as highs are predicted to be in the 20s, Boyette said. Winds will be out of the northwest at about 10 mph, causing the already low temperatures to feel even colder. The wind chill factor, she said, could be in the single digits.
Colder weather is expected to remain through Monday. The highs on Saturday are expected to inch up to the lower 40s with lows in the 20s. Sunday the highs are expected to reach the 40s again with the lows in the 30s.