January 17, 2018 11:09:19 AM
Slim Smith - [email protected]
Bitter cold, but quiet.
Utility companies and law enforcement said there were no major power outages or accidents since the winter storm began moving through the Golden Triangle Tuesday morning.
The record cold will continue through the day and the Golden Triangle will remain under a hard freeze warning until noon Thursday, according to the National Weather Service in Jackson.
Today's low of 7 degrees smashed the previous record low on this date, which was 15 degrees in 1997.
The bitter cold may have kept people off the roadways, law enforcement officials suspect.
Master Sgt. Criss Turnipseed of Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop G, said Troopers responded to 46 minor accident calls between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday, but there were only a few calls overnight.
"It was pretty quiet," Turnipseed said. "People stayed off the roads. There is still hardly anybody on the road this morning."
Although the temperature will remain below freezing until noon Thursday, according to forecasts, Turnipseed said he expects driving conditions to improve today.
"Let's see what the sun does today," he said. "Even in cold temperatures, the sun will melt this stuff. I won't make any guarantees, but it looks like driving conditions will be better. Still, we are urging people to stay off the roads if they can."
Jon Turner of 4-County Electric Power Association said there were no weather-related outages overnight.
"We had two outages in Noxubee County and one of those we're still working on," Turner said. "The outages affected 55 customers total. Overall, there weren't a lot of weather issues affecting our service area."
Todd Gale of Columbus Light and Water said there was one outage affecting only one customer.
"It only lasted an hour," Gale said.
Terry Kemp of Starkville Electric Power said there were no reports of outages in the service area.
"From an operational standpoint, we haven't had any problems," Kemp said. "Really, at this point, we believe the worst is probably over as far as service interruptions go."
County law enforcement officials said there were no major collisions or injuries to date.
"Most people stayed off the road," said Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott. "I'd say we reported to less than a dozen calls, people slipping into ditches and needing someone to pull them out, things like that."
It was much the same in Oktibbeha County, said Chadd Garnett of the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department.
"We had a pretty slow night," Garnett said. "The night shift reported three cars that had slid off the road with no damage or injuries. The average number of (calls) for us on a day is 10 to 12. (Tuesday) we had three calls on Old Highway 25 and a couple out on Oktoc Road all day. That was it."
The Lowndes County Sheriff's Department could not be reached for comment this morning.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is ssmith[email protected]