The streets are dangerous — stay home.
That’s the word from local officials after several hours of steady sleet blanketed the area on a very chilly Monday morning.
“It looks like it’s going to be with us for a few days,” said Police Chief Ralph Dance. “The roads are in really bad shape. We’re trying to advise everybody unless it’s an emergency, don’t get out.”
With another storm looming, the wintry weather led the city to suspend garbage pickup for the week. Public Works Director Clayton Mills said the city made the decision not to run the garbage trucks this week because of the weather and safety concerns.
“We’ll start next Monday and get everybody’s garbage caught up,” he said.
Both the city and county governments put off board meetings that were scheduled for today. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen is now set to meet at 10 a.m. on Friday, and the Alcorn County Board of Supervisors will not meet again until the regular meeting at 9 a.m. on March 1.
Sheriff Ben Caldwell said the county had seen more cars sliding off the roads on Sunday, when there was freezing drizzle, than on Monday, when not many people were out. It was already a day off for many because of Presidents Day, and many businesses were closed.
“The roads are completely covered,” he said early Monday afternoon. “We continue to encourage everyone to stay home unless they absolutely have to be out.”
Dance said the city also had more mishaps on Sunday when people rushed out to the stores for last-minute shopping before the storm. The wrecks had generally been minor.
Mills said his crews put salt on the bridges and main thoroughfares over the weekend. They were getting ready to put down brine once the precipitation cleared out.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation said crews spent Sunday treating roads and bridges, but there is a limit to what can be done to treat roads when it is this cold with widespread precipitation.
The colder it gets, the agency said, the less effective salt becomes to treat ice on a roadway – at 30 degrees Fahrenheit, 1 pound of salt will melt about 46 pounds of ice. At 20 degrees Fahrenheit, 1 pound of salt will only melt about 9 pounds of ice.
Forecasts calling for a period of heavy snow proved to be off the mark for Monday’s storm, but there might be another chance for those who wanted to see some snowfall with a storm moving into the Mid-South on Wednesday and Thursday. While temperatures will be a little warmer, the region will not be out of the threat of mixed wintry precipitation.
“North of I-40 will generally be snow, yet south and east, including the Memphis area, will have a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain,” said the National Weather Service Memphis Forecast Office. “Again, significant accumulation is possible.”
Wednesday night would be the period with the greatest accumulation potential.
In Prentiss County, Emergency Management Director Bud Lindsey said a few minor wrecks had been reported but most people were heeding warnings and staying off the roadways.
“We haven’t had too many accidents,” he said.
Lindsey said his biggest concern was if the precipitation changed from predominately sleet and snow into freezing rain which could bring down limbs and lead to power outages.
Prentiss County officials announced Monday the courthouse and all county offices would remain closed on Tuesday due to the weather conditions. A decision on reopening for Wednesday will made on Tuesday, said Prentiss County Chancery David “Bubba” Pounds.
Booneville and Prentiss County school districts both announced Tuesday will be a snow day and Wednesday a virtual day. A decision on the remainder of the week will be made on Wednesday. Both school districts were out on Monday due to the Presidents Day holiday.
Northeast Mississippi Community College also announced all campuses would be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Instruction will move to virtual for all classes on those days. School officials will make announce a decision about Thursday classes on Wednesday.
The visitor facilities at Shiloh Battlefield and the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center will be closed on Tuesday. Also, all driver service bureaus will be closed on Tuesday.