January and February produced unusually low temperatures coupled with snow and ice in some areas. According to WeatherUnderground.com, Corinth recorded a low temperature of 4.7 degrees on Jan. 15.
“The rapid change in temperatures has caused some pretty major problems on roads across the county,” said Alcorn County Board of Supervisors President Lowell Hinton. “When snow and ice melt, it results in massive amounts of standing or puddling water.”
According to Hinton, potholes typically form when moisture seeps into roads and freezes, causing them to buckle.
“We have been doing a lot of patching,” he said. “In the First District, I’ve got one guy who drives the roads everyday looking for and filling potholes. We have had some public complaints and I know the roads are rough and we are addressing them as quick as we can.”
Those icy roadways forced the Alcorn School District to cancel classes numerous days since the beginning of the year.
“The district has three days built into the schedule that we can take due to weather,” said Superintendent Gina Rogers Smith. “We have had to take five days so far this school year, so two of those five days will have to be made up.”
Smith said the school board will decide when to make up those days in the coming weeks.
“Being able to do delayed starts and early releases on a few days have helped us keep from having to take even more days off,” Smith added.
Harsh weather has also had a major effect on home insurance claims.
“It’s been the worst winter I’ve ever seen,” said State Farm Agent Penn Majors. “Normally we have quite a bit less claims then we have had this year.”
With the vast majority of claims coming from minor wall and floor damage from busted water pipes, Majors said he has had more than 20 homeowners report significant damage.
“Some of the major claims included displacement of the homeowners,” he added. “I’ve had to include hotel accommodations in a few claims while work was being completed in the home.”
Patrick Poindexter with the MSU Extension Center said he has seen damage to certain plants that he hasn’t seen in normal winters.
“Those five degree nights have burned some of those bedding plants,” said Poindexter. “But don’t worry, the plants should come back in the spring with just a little extra care than normal.”
Poindexter said he has received questions on how the cold weather will affect the insect population for the rest of the year.
“The harsh weather should lessen the number of insects, like mosquitoes, but they always find a way to survive,” he added. “I actually saw a mosquito the other day, so I guess that one survived.”
Farmers and gardeners should start preparing their soil tests, he said.
“I highly encourage folks to get their flower beds and yards tested as soon as possible,” Poindexter said. “By testing the soil, people can see what needs to be added. After the harsh winter we’ve had, different things may be needed.”
To perform a soil test, take eight to 10 random samples of soil and mix them together, he said. A person will need to fill a Ziploc sandwich bag with the mixture of soil. Bring those bags of soil to the MSU Extension office on Norman Road. Cost is only $6.
“I’ll send the soil off to the state for testing and within a week or so the person will receive the results in the mail,” he added.
Poindexter believes the Crossroads area isn’t far from the spring warm-up.
“Thankfully, it looks like the real cold weather is behind us,” he said.