Bolivar sets record without snowfall
Jan 29, 2014 | 2329 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Today's low temp of 9 degrees set a new mark for Cleveland, according to Jody Correro of Cleveland, cooperative observer with the National Weather Service.

Correro said the previous record of 11 degrees was set in 1977.

Correro has been an observer for the past 10 years, taking over for his father who began keeping records in 1948.

The Arctic blast that sent subfreezing temperatures, snow and sleet across Mississippi was being blamed for four deaths from a fire as well as hundreds of wrecks and road closures.

The National Weather Service issued a hard freeze warning for areas of central and south Mississippi until midmorning Thursday. Highs were expected to rise into the 30s in those areas but fall into the teens Wednesday night. North Mississippi will see highs in the upper 30s and lows in the teens. Highs will be in the 50s across the state Thursday.

No additional accumulation of freezing rain, sleet or snow was expected Wednesday, forecasters said.

At Guy Bass' Cotton Alley Cafe in Natchez, six employees, about half of Bass' his staff, couldn't make it to work Wednesday because of the weather. The restaurant, which serves American fare like burgers and steaks, is about a half mile from the Mississippi River bridge that connects Natchez and Vidalia, La.

Bass said the bridge was closed until noon Wednesday, so the employees that live in Louisiana couldn't make it to work.

That has presented a challenge. Cotton Alley Cafe is also close to the city's convention center and the people there were been piling into the restaurant because they didn't want to venture too far on ice-covered roads. And Bass said he wasn't sure if his delivery trucks would be able to make it from Jackson on Wednesday.

"It's sort of Russian roulette today," Bass said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

The bad weather, however, didn't discouraged everyone from getting out on the roads, including some sightseers.

"Natchezians were are extremely inquisitive and tend to ride around when they shouldn't," Bass said.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol warned motorists to stay off the roads and highways until at least noon Wednesday.

The four victims in the early Tuesday mobile home fire, blamed on a faulty gas space heater in the living room, ranged from 3 months to 30 years old. Itawamba County official said the bodies of Shelby Cason, 17; Anna Clair Chilcoat, 2; and Kaden Angle, 3 months, were found in the gutted trailer. Susan G. Chilcoat, 35, died later at a local hospital. Two people were hospitalized in Memphis, Tenn., while three others were treated and released.

Highway Patrol spokesman Warren Strain said icy conditions remained extremely hazardous in the southern half of the state.

The worst areas cited by the patrol were:

— U.S. Highway 49 in Magee was completely shut down, both northbound and southbound lanes.

— In the Meridian area, driving conditions were dangerous, with the I-20/I-59 split impassible. I-59 southbound is impassible and westbound I-20 from the 20/59 split was impassible.

— In the Hattiesburg area, icy conditions existed throughout the area and many roads and highways were impassible.

— Tractor-trailer traffic was asked to avoid traveling south on I-55, south of Jackson.

— Driving conditions were treacherous in many areas south of I-20.

"We're looking at sunny conditions," said meteorologist Joanne Culin with the National Weather Service in Jackson. "We're not going to warm up a huge amount — we'll see a high around 35 degrees.

"But we should see with the sun, some of it melting."

Many schools and government offices closed Tuesday and some remained closed Wednesday. Gov. Phil Bryant said state offices would reopen at noon Wednesday. Members of the state's House and Senate who had arrived before the onset of bad weather left the Capitol early Tuesday and were expected to return late Wednesday.

In Hattiesburg, David Smith and his wife, Elizabeth, decided to brave the sleet and snow Tuesday afternoon by strolling around the Thames Elementary School walking track.

"I was feeling a little cabin fever, so I thought we would get out and check out this weird weather," said David Smith, a computer programmer who was off work.

Elizabeth Smith, a University of Southern Mississippi doctoral student in mass communications, said she's used to heavier snows back home in Colorado.

"It makes me laugh that they (USM) canceled school because of it, although it's really slippery, so it's a good thing that they did," she said. "They made a good choice."

In Biloxi, the Boomtown Casino closed Tuesday — the only one of the 12 to do so. The casino intended to reopen Wednesday.

The casino's marketing director said she knows they're the only gambling facility to close for the cold weather, but she said they wanted to put safety first for their mostly local customers and employees.

"We're a different kind of model of casino anyway. You know we don't have the spa and hotel, we really rely on employees and we have great employees. Great customers and we're kind of comfortable local place," said Boomtown Marketing Director Sunita Sailor.