Residents of Northeast Mississippi on Monday woke up to a thick layer of ice covering their streets and sidewalks, with warnings that more snow and ice would continue to rain down well into the evening.
5:22 p.m. update: Monroe County update
The Monroe Journal put this short update together for what Winter Storm Uri looked like in Monroe County on Monday.
See the story & pictures here.
4:56 p.m. update: Pontotoc County update
Pontotoc Police Chief Randy Tutor said Monday afternoon that all city streets remain very dangerous to travel because of severe icing.
“Please stay at home. Don’t go anywhere unless it’s a dire emergency. All streets are bad, impassable. Even if you have a four wheel drive the streets are dangerous.”
See the rest of what Tutor said here.
4:28 p.m. update: Health care providers closing Tuesday
To see a list of Northeast Mississippi health care providers that are closing Tuesday, Feb. 16, click here.
4:05 p.m. update: Toyota Mississippi alters production schedule
The Toyota Mississippi plant in Blue Springs announced Monday that it was cancelling its second shift, and delaying Tuesday's first shift.
To read the full update, click here.
2:35 p.m. update: Tupelo, Lee County offices closed Tuesday
All government facilities and buildings maintained by Lee County and the city of Tupelo will be closed tomorrow because of severe winter weather.
“All personnel will report to their supervisors for updates and opportunities to work remotely,” Lucia Randle, the city’s communications director, said in a statement. “All City of Tupelo emergency crews will be in operation including the Tupelo Police Department, Tupelo Fire Department, Tupelo Water & Light, and Tupelo Public Works.”
Tupelo Water & Light’s collections office will also be closed tomorrow, but they are suspending disconnections and late fees until the weather allows for people to safely drive on the road. Customers can call the utility department for emergencies at 662-841-6460.
The regular Tupelo City Council meeting that was originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday evening has been cancelled. Mayor Jason Shelton and the city council are expected to convene for a special meeting at a later date.
The Lee County Board of Supervisors’ meeting that was originally scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. on Tuesday will not take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
Teresa Williams, the secretary to the Lee County Board of Supervisors, in a statement said that Lee County Solid Waste will not run Tuesday garbage pick-up routes because of the road conditions.
For the complete story, click here.
2:16 p.m. update: Few power outages reported thus far in Northeast Mississippi
Brandon Presley, the state’s northern district public service commissioner, said that around 51,000 people in the state are currently without electricity, but the main power outages have been in south Mississippi.
“We are definitely anticipating that there will be power outages here and it could take a while to get it back on,” Presley said. “It could be a matter of days depending on the situation.”
He also urged people to monitor their electricity usage and help conserve using a lot of electricity to preserve the electric supply system.
Both Scott Hendrix, of Tombigbee Electric Power Association, and Johnny Timmons, of Tupelo Water & Light, have stated those entities will not make any disconnections during this time.
To read the full update, click here.
1:58 p.m. update: Union County update
“We’ve had a few wrecks, but it’s been kind of unusually quiet,” said New Albany Police Chief Chris Robertson.
Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said, “It’s getting pretty tough out there.”
1:10 p.m. update: Shelters responding to need in ice storm
Agencies throughout Northeast Mississippi are responding to emergency shelter and cold weather needs.
The Red Cross of North Mississippi, which covers 31 counties, responded to needs Sunday and Monday, working directly with emergency management officials.
The agency is currently supporting any warming shelters in need with cots and blankets as requested, said executive director KC Grist. As of 11 a.m., Red Cross had not received a request for assistance in Northeast Mississippi, but provided assistance to some shelters in the Delta region of the state.
Anyone with a specific need can call the main American Red Cross number at 1 800 RED CROSS ( 1-800-733-2767).
For more information, click here.
11:54 a.m. update: Winter weather forces changes to the MHSAA state basketball playoffs' schedule
Originally scheduled to begin Monday and Tuesday, the first round of the playoffs is now slated for Thursday and Friday. Saturday has been set aside for makeup games.
The second round will be played Feb. 22 for girls and Feb. 23 for boys – next Monday and Tuesday. The third round is set for Feb. 25-26.
Read Brad Locke's full update here.
11:40 a.m. update: Schools closing, going virtual Tuesday
The first round of school closings for Tuesday are out. They include:
- Northeast Mississippi Community College - Closed, learning virtually
- Itawamba Community College - Closed
- Alcorn School District - Closed, learning virtually
- Baldwyn School District - Closed
- Itawamba County School District - Closed
- Lafayette County School District - Closed
- New Albany School District - Closed, learning virtually
- North Tippah School District - Closed, learning virtually
- Oxford School District - Closed, learning virtually
- Pontotoc City School District - Closed, learning virtually
- Pontotoc County School District - Closed, learning virtually
- South Tippah School District - Closed, learning virtually
- Tupelo Public School District - Closed, learning virtually
- Union County School District - Closed, learning virtually
For a complete and updated list, click here.
The National Weather Service is predicting that most of the southeast is expected to experience significant amounts of ice up to a half an inch or more on roads and bridges, leading to dangerous travel conditions, numerous power outages and extensive tree damage.
“All of the main roads and secondary roads are covered in ice,” said Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop F spokesman Staff Sgt. Bryan McGee. “Even the interstates and state highways are extremely slick. “If you don’t need to get out, we are advising people not to unless it is an absolute emergency. For the most part, people are listening to the warnings.”
McGee said about the only vehicles still on the roads are 18-wheelers and they are having a difficult time, especially on Interstate 22. Several semis were involved in a wreck on eastbound I-22 early Monday morning but that was cleared fairly quickly.
Around 9 a.m., separate wrecks clogged the westbound lanes between Mooreville and Tupelo. One 18-wheeler jack-knifed around mile marker 90. A separate truck ran into the median at mile marker 90 and hit the cable. That incident will likely shut down the road while the truck is removed.
On the north end of the Daily Journal coverage area, conditions started Monday decent but are getting worse.
Tishomingo County Sheriff John Daugherty said the roads are slick and the highway department’s efforts can’t keep up.
“The highway department will get out there and work (putting out salt and sand) but in 15-20 minutes, the roads are slick again,” Daugherty said. “Highway 72 is really slick and Highway 25 is almost impassable. “Normally when we have bad weather, folks come out to look at it or play in the snow. So far, the folks seem to be staying at the house and taking it safe.”
The first round of winter precipitations appears to have been sleet for most of the region. McGee said that by mid-morning Monday, there was no real accumulation of ice on trees or power lines throughout his region, which is based in New Albany and includes the entire northeast corner of the state.
“There is not a lot of ice in trees, but that could be the calm before the next storm,” McGee said.
By 9:30 a.m. Monday, the second round was already hitting Tishomingo County in the form power companies fear most – freezing rain.
“It is falling as rain and freezing as soon as it hits something,” Daugherty said. “Right now, the power lines are not that bad, but it could be bad in the coming hours.”
Tim Allred, the manager of Lee County’s road department, was blunt in his assessment of the condition of roads in the county.
"It’s not good,” Lee County Road Manager Tim Allred said. “All I know is one thing: The event is not over yet, and the roads are severely bad and impassable.”
Allred said workers in his department are monitoring some of the county’s bridges and putting salt on them, but warned that his department can only do so much because their “vehicles don’t travel very well on it either.”
In Tupelo, the largest city in Lee County, public works employees are also trying to maintain the integrity of the city’s bridges and putting salt on them when it’s possible. He said that he’s seen almost no one out on the roads, which is a good thing.
“We’re still here and answering calls,” Williams said of his department. But we haven’t gotten but two calls really over the last couple of days.”
Williams said that his plan is to let the snow accumulate at one time, then attempt to heavily use public works employees to try to get the ice and snow accumulation under control with salt trucks and other equipment.
Johnny Timmons, the director of Tupelo Water and Light, reported that no major power outages thus far have occured in Tupelo.
EMERGENCY OUTAGE TEXT OR CALL NUMBER: I have dedicated 601-383-3287 to text or call for citizens who both have a power outage and have a life-threatening condition that exists in the home/have an emergency need for power. As always, please call 911 if an emergency occurs. pic.twitter.com/fVe9jMuHmg— Brandon Presley (@BrandonPresley) February 14, 2021