OLIVE BRANCH, Miss.–If you don’t have an emergency and you have ice or snow on the roads in front of your house, you don’t need to be traveling. That message came from the state Highway Patrol Thursday morning after troopers reported icy road conditions across the northern third of Mississippi.
“Our Batesville District is reporting that Interstate 55 and Interstate 78 and highways 51 and 61 are iced over,” said Warren Strain, spokesperson for the Miss. Dept. of Public Safety. “That’s not just the bridges and overpasses, but completely iced over on the roadways as well.”
Strain said all county roads and highways will be dangerous in those areas, too.
“They don’t get the treatment from the Dept. of Transportation that the major thoroughfares got. So those backroads and smaller highways are going to be very treacherous.”
He said the best advice if you’re on the road and start to slide is not to brake and to turn into the slide until you get your traction back.
The National Weather Service reported significant ice and snow accumulations all across north Mississippi, with more precipitation moving through. Central Mississippi was starting to report sleet and some snow, and some of that accumulating on roadways and bridges.
The Weather Service extended its winter weather warning about 4 a.m.
“We threw in Claiborne, Hinds, Madison, Winston and Leake counties, mainly right along the Natchez Trace corridor. We did that mainly because it really looks like this morning from daybreak until about 8 or 9 a.m. there’s gonna be a pretty heavy band of precipitation that sets up as the temperatures are dropping below freezing,” said Brad Bryant, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
He said that much of what falls today in the north half of the state may not have a chance to melt off because of the temperature, which may not reach freezing in the northern third.
“And we’re gonna see some sleet and ice accumulations toward central Mississippi that may have a hard time going away as well.”
He said if the sun did pop out it would be late in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, no major wrecks or backups were reported overnight, despite the ice. You are encouraged to stay home and make it another snow day if it’s falling where you are.